Health experts heading for Samoa to help Government investigate tragic deaths of babies following MMR jabs

Unicef and World Health Organisation experts will arrive in Samoa tonight to help investigate the deaths of two one-year-old babies who died within two hours of each other at the same hospital after receiving the MMR vaccine.

New mum Junita Poutoa, who has spent a month bonding with her baby Junior, is heartbroken for the two parents who lost their babies minutes after being immunised last week.

"Imagine those two mothers. It's been 12 months and losing that bond in a matter of minutes – it's sad. It's very unbearable," Ms Poutoa said.

Her son is due to be vaccinated in two weeks, and Ms Poutoa says she is "having second thoughts".

"I'm worried if I don't get him immunised, he's going to be prone to diseases, [but] if I do give them the consent, that's me just signing away my baby - this changes everything for me."

A top-level Unicef Pacific official who will be arriving in Samoa tonight, Sheldon Yett, has worked around the world, including in Africa during an Ebola outbreak.

Mr Yett says it's essential the two deaths in Samoa do not derail the successful immunisation programme being carried out throughout the region.

"We do know that high immunisation rates are the best way to keep a population safe so yes, we are concerned. Thats's why it's important to get the facts out and find out exactly what happened here," Mr Yett said.

The Samoan government has launched an investigation into the incident, withdrawing the MMR vaccine from all of its clinics for testing.

The investigation will look at the vaccine itself, equipment, storage of the vaccine and its administration.

"They have asked support from the WHO. WHO will be providing a virologist to be testing the vaccine and, more importantly, get an understanding of what happened to and ensure that the immunisation standards were maintained."

The two nurses who administered the vaccinations have been removed from the area for their own safety as the entire country reels from the tragedies.

Two one-year-olds died within two hours of each other at the same hospital in Apia, just minutes after getting the MMR vaccine. Source: 1 NEWS