Commission of inquiry for Samoa baby deaths

Both babies died soon after getting the MMR vaccine. Photo: Getty Images
Both babies died soon after getting the MMR vaccine. Photo: Getty Images

A commission of inquiry into the deaths of two children who died after receiving a mumps, measles and rubella vaccination is due to start next week.

The three-person commission includes respected local judge Tuiloma Neroni Slade as chairman, and two members from the medical practitioner and nursing sectors, respectively.

The commission of inquiry, scheduled for three days from next Monday, will investigate the cause of deaths of two 1-year-old children who died almost immediately after getting an MMR shot at Savaii’s Safotu District Hospital on July 6 this year.

It comes after the second of two nurses was charged with manslaughter just over two weeks ago.

The charge was in relation to one of the two children who died. Another nurse was earlier charged with manslaughter after being charged with negligence and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

As part of the inquiry, the group will assess the standards and procedures within the Ministry of Health and/or Safotu District Hospital for the administration of the vaccinations.

It will also look at the specific procedures relating to the administration and injection of the vaccination for the second child - Lameko Si’u - whose mother appeared on public television after her son’s death, saying she vehemently refused consent for a vaccination to go ahead after learning of the earlier death of a little girl, Lannacallystah Samuelu.

The commission will also look at: “Whether there were any discrepancies in the administration of the MMR vaccinations to the two babies in question in line with the current health and medical procedures in place.”

Submissions will also be given by a number of organisations; including Samoa’s Ministry of Health, National Health Services, Samoa Registered Nurses Association, Samoa School of Nursing (National University of Samoa) and the Samoa Medical Association.

Members of the public who may like to make a relevant submission are also being encouraged to do so.

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