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Samoa measles: Unvaccinated families told to hang red flag on door

Families that have not been vaccinated against measles in the Pacific nation of Samoa have been asked to hang a red flag outside their homes to help fight a deadly outbreak of the disease.

The flags will assist medical teams travelling door to door inoculating residents.

The government says more than 4,000 people have been infected with measles out of a population of 200,000. Sixty people have died so far, many of whom were children under five.

Samoa declared a state of emergency in November to combat the outbreak and vaccinations are now compulsory.

All schools are closed and children under 17 are banned from public gatherings.

Samoan officials say the vaccination rate has now reached about 55%. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has vowed to get the figure above 90%.

“Our children and people will never become immune to any future epidemic unless we have almost 100% vaccination coverage,” he said while touring a hospital ward on Wednesday.

“It’s the only antidote.”


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