Samoan health authorities have stopped all children’s vaccinations in the island nation after the deaths of two toddlers.
A full inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths has also been launched at the request of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.
The situation comes after two children, both aged 1, died minutes after receiving an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination at Safotu Hospital, in Savaii, on Friday.
Families of the youngsters told TV1 Samoa they had made formal complaints with local police and were calling for investigations into their children’s deaths.
The mother of one child told the station she asked that her son not get the vaccination after learning about the death of the little girl, which had occurred about two hours earlier at the same hospital.
It is alleged the nurse insisted that the vaccination go ahead and was given without consent.
University of Auckland vaccinologist Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said one death, let alone two, was extremely rare, and there had never been a death associated with the MMR vaccine in New Zealand.
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