Government, Health - Samoa Charges Anti-Vaxxer
Authorities in Samoa have arrested a suspect for incitement against the Government's order that everyone be vaccinated to stop the measles epidemic which has killed 63 people, mostly children younger than five years.
A member of the public complained to the Attorney General, who referred the case to police. The suspect reportedly said, "I'll be here to mop up your mess. Enjoy your killing spree." Police had warned him in the past because he had claimed that Vitamin A or D could be used as alternatives to the measles vaccine (it can't). The suspect was denied bail, and is expected to remain in custody until his trial.
Measles is a virulent disease and highly contagious is spread even more easily than the Flu or even Ebola. It's capable of lingering in the air or on surfaces, waiting to infect the next unvaccinated person who shows up. Samoa's low vaccination rate allowed it to race through the tiny nation over just a couple of months.
But it's extremely preventable with the MMR vaccine. Earlier, the UN World Health Organization revealed that more than 140,000 people died of measles in 2018, partially because smaller nations don't have enough money or resources to prevent an epidemic, but also because of anti-vaxxer activity in the east.
"The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world's most vulnerable children," said the WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.