Samoa ordered a authorities shutdown to assist fight a devastating measles outbreak Monday, as 5 extra kids succumbed to the virus, lifting the dying toll within the tiny Pacific nation to 53.
The authorities mentioned virtually 200 new measles instances had been recorded since Sunday, with the speed of an infection exhibiting no signal of slowing regardless of a obligatory mass vaccination program.
The scheme has up to now focussed on kids however Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi mentioned it was time to immunize everybody within the 200,000 inhabitants aged beneath 60.
To obtain the purpose, he mentioned authorities companies and departments would shut on Thursday and Friday this week as a way to enable all public servants to help with the mass vaccination marketing campaign all through the nation.
He mentioned solely electrical energy and water utility employees can be exempt and known as on the nation to face collectively to comprise the outbreak.
“In this time of crisis, and the cruel reality of the measles epidemic, let us reflect on how we can avoid recurrence in the future,” Malielegaoi mentioned in a nationwide tackle.
Since the disaster started in mid-October, there have been 3,728 measles instances, accounting for nearly two p.c of the inhabitants.
Infants are probably the most weak and type the majority of infections, with 48 of the fatalities aged 4 or much less.
A state of emergency was declared in mid-November, with faculties closed and kids banned from public gatherings, akin to church companies, to attenuate the danger of contagion.
The outbreak has been exacerbated by Samoa’s low immunization charges, which the World Health Organization blames on overseas-based anti-vaccine campaigners.
Malielegaoi was unequivocal in his message, telling his individuals “vaccination is the only cure… no traditional healers or kangen (alkaline) water preparations can cure measles”.
“Let us work together to encourage and convince those that do not believe that vaccinations are the only answer to the epidemic,” he mentioned.
“Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures.”
Officials say the anti-vaccination message has resonated in Samoa due to a case final yr when two infants died after receiving measles immunization photographs.
It resulted within the short-term suspension of the nation’s immunization program and dented mother and father’ belief within the vaccine, despite the fact that it later turned out the deaths had been prompted when different medicines had been incorrectly administered.