Returning workers require vaccine proof
Seasonal workers returning home for the Christmas holidays are being asked to present documentation proving they have been administered the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in New Zealand before they can reunite with family in Samoa.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, said companies in New Zealand employing the workers have offered to assist seasonal workers to get their injection to protect them the measles epidemic.
“The Minister of Public Enterprise deals with seasonal workers in New Zealand and had written to [companies] to get vaccinated there before they return,” Tuilaepa told the media.
“They need bring document to prove that they have been vaccinated and the response we have received is the companies are happy to assist to ensure the workers are protected.”
Tuilaepa said an estimated 2,000 workers were in New Zealand.
Last month, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) issued a statement stating that vaccination is now mandatory for Samoans participating in the Australia and N.Z. seasonal workers scheme.
“The Ministry communicated with workers and team leaders who were preparing to depart for New Zealand and Australia, about the need to take necessary precautions and to get fully immunized,” the M.C.I.L. media release stated.
“Prior to departure during pre-departure orientation workers and team leaders are again advised that they must ensure they have been vaccinated before departing.
“This approach was further enforced under the state of emergency declaration.”
The Ministry added that any worker who showed symptoms of measles were immediately advised by the Ministry’s Labour and Employment Programme that they cannot leave the country until they are cleared.
The same information was also relayed to the prospective employee in Australia and New Zealand.
But if the worker is cured before their scheduled departure then they are cleared for deployment.
According to the Ministry, they have already encountered two cases of workers who displayed the symptoms measles, but they were immediately vaccinated and later given medical clearance by doctors.
Employers in both Australia and New Zealand have also provided medical support for Samoan workers when they arrive and if required.