BREAKING NEWS: All MMR Vaccines seized in Samoa following deaths of two infants

 In News, Stories
  • Two Samoan babies die within minutes after vaccination
  • Samoan officials suspend and seize MMR vaccines country-wide
  • Samoan Prime Minister offers “heartfelt condolences” to stricken families and promises justice

Two families who recently celebrated their children’s first birthday are now planning their funerals. Lannacallystah Samuelu and Lameko Si’u both died within minutes of being given the MMR vaccine on July 6, at Satoftu hospital in Savai’i, Samoa.

Both families are desperately seeking answers from the government of Samoa, the Ministry of Health and National Health Services as to why MMR vaccinations that were meant to protect their children have instead caused their children’s immediate death moments after they were injected.

The families themselves lodged complaints with the police, demanding an investigation into the deaths of their children.


The parents of one-year-old Lannacallystah Samuelu explained that she died within three minutes of being injected with the MMR vaccine.

One-year old Lameko Si’u arrived at the hospital a couple of hours later. His mother refused to allow him to be vaccinated following the previous death. Despite her refusal, her son was still given the MMR vaccine.  Tragically, within a minute, he had also died.

The CEO of the Ministry of Health Director Leausa Take Naseri has officially ordered that all MMR vaccines in the country be immediately seized. He has also requested a forensic autopsy on the two babies, as the deaths are also being investigated by police. The Ministry of Health has publicly declared that a full investigation is now underway and that all staff involved have been stood down effective immediately.


The following is a statement issued by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi in response to the two babies deaths.

“I have not been fully briefed concerning the circumstances leading up to the death of the two innocent young children who passed away reportedly after the young boy and girl were administered vaccination injections at a District Hospital in Savai’i last Friday.

But it will not detain me from reiterating a message of sympathy and condolences to the parents and families.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. And I can imagine that there is no pain more far reaching and deeper than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to the grieving families at this most difficult time. To that effect, I humbly extend my deepest sympathy, condolences and pray that comfort and peace will come to them.
As a grandfather and father, I can relate to the grief by the families for their loss.

I also almost lost one of my grandsons several years ago under similar circumstances.
But with the Grace of our Father in Heaven my grandson survived with the proper treatment but he will never be the same as he has lost the ability to speak.
As Prime Minister, I have called a full inquiry into the circumstances leading up to this devastating incident which I do not take lightly.

There are already processes that will determine if negligence is a factor. And if so, rest assured those processes will be implemented to the letter to ensure that such a tragedy will not be repeated and those responsible will be made to answer.

The deaths also reaffirm the desires behind the government to proceed with the merger between the National Health Services and the Ministry of Health at full speed. When completed, the merge will ensure that incidents of this nature will not be repeated. It is a message to our people that deaths of the two young infants are not in vain.

Providing quality health care for our people remains a key government priority.
To that end, we have just inked a partnership with medical specialists from India ranked as the best medical practitioners in the world to start the second phase of our engagement which will see specialists from India performing state of the art surgeries in Samoa. Six other medical specialists from the People’s Republic of China will soon join our medical staff to share their wealth of experience.

When it comes to the Health Sector, government does not and will not put a price tag on saving our peoples lives. This is reflected by government’s resolve to provide the best and latest lifesaving treatment available for our people. For the government it is not just an obligation but a given.

Again, I extend my sincere condolences to the grieving parents and relatives.”

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