P.M. urges parents not to hide from vaccinations
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, has urged parents not to hide their children from vaccinators or refuse to have them vaccinated as the Government continues its immunisation campaign.
The call from Tuilaepa follows the death of a baby from Moto'otua who died from measles this week and was suspected to have been hidden by the child’s parents during the recent the door-to-door vaccination initiative.
“Families in the village [of Moto’otua have said] everyone has been vaccinated,” Tuilaepa said during his media programme this week.
“The family [of the dead child] was also visited by the village committee [for vaccination but] ... had hidden the baby who did not get vaccinated…”
Tuilaepa said the family had depended on a traditional healer in their household for treatment and was the reason why they did not vaccinate the baby.
“They felt it would be easy to treat since there was a traditional healer in the family and had tried to treat the baby at home,” he explained.
“But they did not understand the baby’s condition was critical with pneumonia and when they rushed the baby to the hospital it was too late.”
As the measles epidemic peak passes, Tuilaepa encourage parents to immunise their children to ensure they are protected from any future outbreaks.
The Prime Minister said he is disappointed that despite the mass vaccination campaign and efforts from the Government to combat the measles epidemic children without immunisations still remain.
He said he hoped that more publications and awareness on vaccination will change minds of those that do not know the importance of getting their children immunised.
While he does not deny the usefulness of traditional healers for tropical diseases, Tuilaepa said it is crucial to have children immunised before parents opt to take them to the healers.
He urged that if mothers are having doubts with their children being administered with the vaccine, the fathers should help mothers to reconsider their decisions.
The latest death toll for the measles epidemic stands at 78 with five deaths of children aged under five this week.