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New Zealand to send nurses, vaccines as measles epidemic in Samoa worsens


New Zealand medical staff and measles vaccines are being sent to Samoa as the country faces a worsening measles outbreak.

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There have been eight suspected measles deaths so far – all but one of them a child. Source: 1 NEWS

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters made the announcement this morning in response to a request from the Samoan Government.

"New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines and 12 nurses to assist in containing a serious and growing measles outbreak,” Mr Peters said. 

“Measles is highly contagious, and the outbreak has taken lives in Samoa. It is in everybody’s interests that we work together to stop its spread.”

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Some with severely sick children are turning to alternative treatment, sparking major concerns, 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver reports. Source: 1 NEWS

The first nurses, who will administer vaccinations, will arrive on Wednesday, with other nurses working on rotation over the coming weeks.

The vaccines are undergoing final clearance to arrive in Samoa next week.

Source: 1 NEWS

“New Zealand has already responded to earlier requests from Samoa for medical supplies, and for pharmaceutical refrigerators which are essential to preserving the efficacy of vaccines,” Mr Peters said.

Other supplies to Samoa have included face masks, gowns, hand sanitiser, stretcher beds, and vaccination fridges.