PM Tuilaepa in discussion with the Chairman of the National Emergency Advisory Committee Ulu Bismarck Crawley
Vaccination teams were turned away by some of the families who did not accept the measles injections, during the Thursday and Friday house to house emergency immunisation campaign.
The Chairman of the Disaster Advisory Committee, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, confirmed the rejections.
Ulu was not quite sure why some people did not want to be vaccinated, despite the effort to ensure that everyone in the country is covered.
“There were families and individuals who did not want the MMR injection when we met them,” said Ulu.
“The whole purpose is to ensure that the whole country has been vaccinated but unfortunately some did not want it and we don’t know the reason.
“However, our office will visit them again to conduct consultations and ask why they were against receiving the treatment.”
Ulu made clear that they did not try to force the injections because they have the right as an individual to accept the injection or not.
He felt it was a must for them to understand why it was necessary to be vaccinated especially during this time of the epidemic.
“I understand their rights but our office needs to explain to them the risk they pose to others, especially the young children because of their anti vaccination stance.
“We have to sit down with them and explain that this outbreak is not a joke and that those not being vaccinated is a risk.
“They can easily become sick which means their family members as well as their children will surely catch the measles.
“We have to find out their reasons for rejecting the injection because it may have something to do with their religion, maybe they don’t believe in injection or what not.
“These are the things that we need to get from the people who rejected the injection and then we can explain why this is important.
“Who knows maybe for some of them they don’t really understand the importance of getting vaccinated.
These are all the things that we need to do to ensure our people understand the purpose of all this.”
Data collected from the two-day vaccination run should be ready by Monday, according to Ulu.
National vaccination coverage is at 89 per cent of the population based on the latest Update 21 of the epidemic status.
The percent may have expanded into 90 percent already or more after the emergency vaccination run during the week.
The final count is expected to offer a clearer position of where the epidemic is at and where and how to move ahead with control measures.
Fatality rate and new cases recorded in the last 24-hour update shows the numbers have basically remained steady in the last few days.
Overseas medical volunteers are continuing to arrive to help out, some are replacement for others who have left.
The bulk of the team from Hawaii reportedly left after the house-to-house vaccination campaign, with only a few left behind to continue with the work.
The Chairman of the Advisory Committee thanked all who carried out the tiring day long work for two straight days.
“We would also like to acknowledge especially the traditional village authority of the ‘ali’i ma faipule’, ‘komiti tumama’ and everyone who were able to help out.”
The teams were rested for the remainder of the weekend.
Plans were still to be firmed up for the next step to continue the effort to control the measles outbreak these coming weeks.