UPDATED: An inquiry in Samoa following the deaths of two infants last week gave Tonga an opportunity to pay more attention to its immunisation process, Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said.
Samoa’s Government has seized supplies of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine as a result.
Dr ‘Akau’ola said Tonga only used the vaccine for measles and rubela (MR).
“It is important for us to wait for the results of the investigation into the Samoa cases which involved WHO and UNICEF,” ‘Akau’ola said in Tongan.
The babies were brought to Safotu Hospital in Savai’i on Friday, where they died within minutes of the receiving the MMR vaccine, Television New Zealand reported.
Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, the University of Auckland’s Director of Research at the Immunisation Advisory Centre, told Stuff deaths associated with vaccines were extremely rare.
“This is an exceptional event … we shouldn’t fly into a panic,” she reportedly said.
The Cook Islands has lifted a suspension on the MMR vaccine which was announced after the Samoa deaths.
The Cook Islands Secretary for Health, Josephine Aumea Herman, reportedly said checks had revealed that stocks of the MMR vaccine in the Cooks did not come from the same batch that had been recalled in Samoa.
Dr Aumea Herman said the Cook Islands had a 100 percent MMR infant vaccination rate.