July 5, 2020

Samoa will paralyze its activity for a mass vaccination against measles

The Government of Samoa ordered the closure of all public and business services on Thursday and Friday to conduct a door-to-door vaccination campaign across the country against measles, which since October has caused 60 deaths, mostly under five.

In Samoa, with a population of less than 200,000 inhabitants, 4,052 cases of measles have been recorded since the beginning of this outbreak, 171 of which in the last 24 hours, the Government of this Pacific country reported today.

In response to the epidemic, which already led to the declaration of the state of emergency in November, the authorities decided to stop all activity in the country for the next two days from 7 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon to immunize the population.

"All public and private sectors will remain closed … to ensure good coverage of the vaccination plan," the government said in a statement.

"The population is asked to tie a red flag or piece of clothing in front of their homes and near the street to indicate that family members have not been vaccinated. The red sign will make it easier to identify the homes to be vaccinated "added the note.

During the strike, the circulation of vehicles will also be restricted, except for those in the public sector, security forces or medical assistance, trips between the two main islands of the country, Upolu and Savai'i, will be suspended, and the population will be urged to remain at home.

Since 2017, measles has spread throughout the world, including several countries in the Western Pacific, such as Fiji and Tonga, where the last outbreak was recorded in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.

The epidemic has forced the Oceania Football Confederation to postpone until next year the U16 women's continental championship of this sport scheduled next month in Tahiti, in French Polynesia.

Measles is a childhood disease – highly contagious and becoming lethal – that causes significant respiratory complications especially in young adults.

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