Govt. lifts vaccines moratorium

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Leao Tuitama.

Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Leao Tuitama. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

The moratorium imposed on the administration of the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine in hospitals in Samoa has been lifted. 

This was confirmed by Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Leao Tuitama in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

“We have a new rigorous approach to assure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. 

“I have given the directive to the National Health Services with new policies including, having doctors present when vaccinations are being carried out. 

“There are new conditions and we have issued a directive that the N.H.S. must comply with,” he said. 

The Minister said they are still waiting for the report from the Commission of Inquiry. 

“And we will also conduct a follow up review of the process and procedure for all the injections. The order lifting the ban on the M.M.R. was issued earlier this month.” 

The Ministry of Health suspended the administration of the vaccine following the deaths of two toddlers at Safotu, Savaii in July this year. 

The Police have charged Luse Emo Tauvale and Leutogi Te’o—the nurses who were on duty at the hospital when the vaccine was given—with manslaughter. 

The Samoa Observer sought comments from the Chief Executive Officer Leausa Dr Take Naseri, who noted that there is “paperwork” for the M.M.R. which has been done, and brushed off the call noting that he’s in a meeting. 

Efforts to get comments from the Nurses Association President, Solialofi Papalii, were unsuccessful as of press time. 

In September Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thompson explained before the Commission of Inquiry’s Chairman, Tuiloma Neroni Slade the stop order is for the M.M.R. to be put on hold for the time being until the case and the investigation are completed.

He added the moratorium was issued by the National Health Service (N.H.S.) and applied to all forms of vaccination that were administered on the day of the incident.

Tagaloa said the moratorium was to be implemented nationwide and health service providers informed in the process. 

“The M.M.R. vaccine is only administered at the age of 12 months with the dose one and 15 months the dose two, and we all do catch up campaign to catch up all the children that have not received the M.M.R. vaccines now,” Tagaloa said.

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