Samoa law embeds compulsory measles shots

APIA, SAMOA (AFP) – Samoa has passed a law to make childhood vaccinations compulsory as the Pacific nation continues efforts to contain a devastating measles outbreak that by yesterday had killed 77 people, most of them infants.

The country introduced mandatory vaccination as part of a state of emergency declared in November when the scale of infection sweeping through the 200,000-strong population became apparent.

The move, along with other drastic actions such as shutting down the entire country for two days this month while mobile vaccination teams went door-to door, has succeeded in lifting immunisation rates from around 30 per cent to 94 per cent.