Samoa’s Unforgiving Epidemic

“God, why? Why my baby?”

Nuu Lameko’s baby girl, Lemina, lit up the world with her smile. Then the 10-month-old was one of 5,400 people in Samoa infected with measles. And 1 of 77 who died.

The island nation of 200,000 was unprepared for the 300% increase in measles worldwide. While it had 90% measles vaccine coverage in 2013, that percent had fallen to 30% by 2018. Parents avoided the vaccine after 2 infants died when nurses had used a muscle relaxant rather than sterile water in the vaccine.

The subsequent 9-month suspension of measles vaccinations left its children especially vulnerable.

The New York Times

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