Medical Dr says its “irresponsible to downplay” the seriousness of the 2019 measles


Medical Doctor, Toleafoa Dr Viali Lameko has hit back at the Secretary of the HRPP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi over downplaying a call for a Commission of Inquiry into the measles which led to the death of more than 80 children, two years ago.

During its last press conference with the media, the Human Rights Protection Party Secretary Leala said the Chairman of the FAST Party Laauli Leautea Schmidt, continues to bring up a Commission of Inquiry into the measles comparing it to the current community cases of COVID19 in the Country.

“However a report on the measles pertaining to the children, the former Government has already submitted its report to Parliament.

“It’s something rather easy the measles because mothers take their children to get vaccinated and it did not really spread,” said Leala.

The HRPP Secretary was responding to media questions about whether a national Inquiry should be conducted into how the covid leaked out in the first place, which led to the number of community cases in Samoa, which as of this morning more than 1,200 community cases have been confirmed. 

Whereas Leala said “now is not the time to consider a Commission of Inquiry, now is the time to work together with the Government in dealing with the pandemic in the country.”

Toleafoa in 2019 was one of the first Medical Doctors to call for a Commission of Inquiry into the measles epidemic. 

Despite being the Vice-Chancellor of the Oceania University of Medicine he was however speaking in a personal capacity as a doctor.

In response to questions from Radio Polynesia, Toleafoa said it is “irresponsible to downplay the seriousness of the measles epidemic, back in early 2019”.

He remembers the panic amongat the public back then. 

“There was a lockdown while the Government conducted its mass vaccination of the children and the public. The measles aftermath left more than 5,000 positive cases and 83 deaths as a result.

“This can hardly be easy for anyone who lost their child,” said Toleafoa.

Adding that two nurses implemented the wrong vaccine that killed two children in Savaii in 2018 ignited the refusal for parents to take their children for the MMR vaccination.