#PacificIslandNationOfSamoa; #measlesOutbreak; #ChildrenDieOfMeasles
Pacific island nation of Samoa, Dec 2 (Canadian-Media): The death toll of children, mostly under four years old, has arisen to more than 53 from the latest flare-up of a global epidemic of virus measles in the small Pacific island nation of Samoa had forced closure schools and restricted travel ahead of the holiday season, media reports said.
Pacific island nation of Samoa. Image credit: Pinterest
The vaccine coverage in Samoa was only about 31 percent when measles took hold, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with more than 3,700 cases of measles recorded in the population of around 200,000.
Health authorities have vaccinated 58,150 people so far, the government said on Monday.
Reported measles cases are the highest they've been in any year since 2006, WHO said.
Samoan authorities have blamed low coverage rates in Samoa in part on fears caused last year when two babies died after receiving vaccination shots, according to local media reports.
The country's immunization program was also temporarily suspended. The deaths were later found to have been caused by medications that were wrongly mixed.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters the country is sending additional vaccines and dozens of medical professionals to Samoa to help with the outbreak.