For the residents of Samoa, Japan, the past few months have been extremely difficult,media BGR reported. The measles outbreak has made life more difficult in the country, with more than 5,600 people infected and 81 deaths so far. Anti-vaccination campaigns have been on the island for the past few years, exacerbating the outbreak, and there are now some positive signs that things are improving.
Samoa lifted a six-week state of emergency last week as local authorities continued to vaccinate as many residents as possible, the BBC reported. Vaccinationhas nearly 95 percent of the island’s residents have been protected from the disease, according to the local government.
The previous low vaccination rate in Samoa was due in part to the deaths of two children in 2018 after receiving standard measles vaccinations. This has led to the suspension of vaccination programmes and raised fears among parents. Eventually, health officials determined that the use of another drug instead of a vaccine could kill children, but by then concerns about vaccine safety had increased dramatically. Parents began choosing not to vaccinate their children, and a year later, measles began to spread rapidly among Japan’s smallest population.
The deadly outbreak was enough to persuade most parents to vaccinate their children, and friendly neighbours donated large amounts of vaccines to help Samoa weather the storm. The situation has become so dire that the Government of Samoa and some public services have also been closed in order to devote all available resources to the vaccination campaign.
This work seems to be bearing fruit, and the new infection rate has been significantly reduced. Daily life in Samoa nuns will take some time to return to normal, and schools and public meeting places have been closed for weeks, but at least things are improving.