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Samoa shuts government, sends public servants to help with measles vaccination

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | December 3, 2019
Samoa has shut down its government in the wake of a deadly measles outbreak that has claimed the lives of 55 Samoans and infected around one in 70 people across the country since the disease began to spread six weeks ago.
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Pacific   Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi announced a full shutdown of all public and government services so that “all public servants can assist with a mass measles vaccination campaign throughout the country.”

“Let us work together to encourage and convince those that do not believe that vaccinations are the only answer to the epidemic. Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures,” he said.

The Ministry of Health reported today that there have been 3,881 confirmed cases across the country, with 153 confirmed in just the past 24 hours. Statistics show that children are the most affected with 50 of the 55 confirmed dead below the age of five.

Since the government ruled vaccines compulsory and declared a state of emergency on November 20, which banned public gatherings and closed schools and universities, a mass vaccination campaign has been under way, with more than 58,000 people already successfully vaccinated.