Government says 275 people unvaccinated

A total of 275 people reportedly remain unvaccinated against measles, as the Government seeks to complete its mass vaccination programme this week, according to figures from the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.). 

The number of unvaccinated members of Samoa's population are up to date as at the beginning of January and were raised by the Minister for M.W.C.S.D., Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, in Parliament this week.

“We have given the names [people not vaccinated] to the Ministry of Health so they can be vaccinated,” he said.

According to the M.W.C.S.D.'s Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Faauiga Mulitalo, the Ministry's measles community outreach programme began before last year's massive door-to-door vaccination programme and national shutdown. 

“We sent out 20 teams in Upolu and seven teams in Savaii," the C.E.O. said. 

“The whole idea was for us to walk within the villages each family as a door to door approach to ask if there were any members of the family or children that were not being vaccinated.

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“We continued our programme after the two days [of] Government Shut down from the [7th to the 20th] of December.”

She added that some of some teams identified cases of measles sufferers in critical condition who were then brought to hospital. 

“Up till now our teams are still going out to the villages but Savai'i," she said. 

“There is a big drop of numbers meaning but there are still cases of people not vaccinated and are referred to the [Ministry of] Health but we are aiming to complete the whole country by this week.

“There were cases where our teams were not welcomed and one female member of the team was bitten by a dog and a lot of urban families lock their gates.”

Afamasaga says she advises her mobile teams to be patient but insistent.

“There are families that lock their gates but some members are inside. We also request to our village representatives to assist our teams when they come around.

“Other issues our teams face [are] the inability for cars to access roads leading to some homes so they have to walk a great distance.

“About 130 members are in our teams with 80 per cent comprised of our staff but we are so thankful for the volunteers some from Red Cross and [others from] villages."

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