red flag outside home

Pink flags are being hung outdoors properties in Samoa to point out those that haven’t been vaccinated for measles

Getty Photographs / Stringer

Pink flags are flying in Samoa, indicating the homes of individuals in want of a measles vaccine. An outbreak on the Pacific island has led to drastic government measures to fight off the lethal illness.

The Samoa Ministry of Well being declared the beginning of the measles outbreak on 16 October and there have been greater than 4300 circumstances reported since then, together with 63 deaths linked to measles. Many of the deaths are amongst kids underneath the age of 5.

The government of Samoa declared an emergency on 19 November, shutting down colleges and limiting kids from attending public gatherings. The government additionally made vaccination necessary for all 200,000 residents.


Within the first week after the emergency declaration, public well being officers vaccinated 44,907 folks, 1 / 4 of the countrys inhabitants. As of 5 December, 74 per cent of the inhabitants had been vaccinated.

The government is enterprise a door-to-door mass vaccination marketing campaign on 5 and 6 December to vaccinate folks between 6 months and 60 years outdated.

Throughout that point, the Samoan government shut down companies in order that civil servants may assist public well being officers administer the vaccine in cell clinics. Healthcare professionals from New Zealand and Hawaii flew in to assist as properly.

In accordance to estimates from UNICEF and the World Well being Group, the measles vaccination price in Samoa fell from 74 per cent in 2017 to 34 per cent in 2018. Which may be due partially to hesitancy amongst dad and mom to vaccinate their kids after two Samoan infants died in 2018 due to improperly ready MMR vaccines.

Measles can also be spreading all through the area, with outbreaks in Tonga, Fiji, the Philippines, and New Zealand.

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