Samoan vaccine tragedy – investigation update – nurse charged

Recently, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote an in-depth article here discussing the Samoan vaccine tragedy – two children died within minutes after receiving the routine MMR vaccine. The government reacted to the Samoan vaccine issue almost immediately, and they opened an inquest into what may have killed the two children.

At the time, the story was picked up by the anti-vaccine religion as evidence that the MMR vaccine kills children while claiming that nefarious forces are conspiring to hide the truth about the vaccine. Except that is the farthest thing from the truth.

Samoan vaccine tragedy – what we knew

In a completely transparent manner, the Samoan government has quickly reacted to the tragic death of two children and have set up an investigation with both internal and external vaccine experts to determine what had happened. But more importantly how to prevent it in the future. This is how a real scientific investigation works.

As Professor Reiss explained, there were two possible reasons that lead to the death:

  1. There was an error in preparing the vaccine for injection.
  2. There was a possible contamination due to the vaccine having been reconstituted and left at room temperature too long.

If you are not familiar with the MMR vaccine, it is shipped in two vials. The vaccine itself is in a “lyophilized,” or freeze-dried, form. This keeps the vaccine stable. The second vial includes a “diluent,” which is removed by a syringe and then injected into the lyophilized vaccine vial and reconstituted. The healthcare worker should do this immediately before use.

When I observed one of my daughters receiving the MMR vaccine many years ago, I actually watched the nurse inject the diluent into the vaccine, agitate the vial to mix the reconstituted vaccine, then vaccinate her.

A leading vaccine expert, Dr. Helen Petousis-Harris recently discussed the Samoan vaccine tragedy. She stated that the most likely cause of the deaths was that the vaccine was prepared incorrectly by the medical staff. However, since the MMR vaccine used in the Samoan vaccine issue are 5-dose vials (not used in the USA and many other countries), it is also possible that the vaccine was reconstituted too long before the vaccine and became contaminated.

However, the suddenness of the deaths probably points more to an improper preparation of the vaccine. For example, if the medical staff chose to use another diluent, instead of the one included in the package, especially one high in potassium, it could have instantly killed the children.

In fact, the Samoan police are considering charges against the medical staff pending reports from an inquiry and post-mortem inquest.

As of today, MMR vaccinations have stopped in Samoa, despite parents requesting the vaccine to protect their children from a deadly disease. And we are awaiting more detailed information from the inquiry.

There is little evidence at all that the MMR vaccine was directly responsible for the deaths of the children. The vaccine is still considered very safe, and, of course, it does not cause autism. The anti-vaccine goons ought to drop this Samoan vaccine story as their “evidence” of an issue with MMR vaccines. Of course, since they have no other real evidence, it’s probably not going to happen.

Samoan vaccine story – update 8 August 2018

I wasn’t sure whether to post a new article or just update this one, so I went with updating this article. Samoa Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff just sent out this press release:

It can be confirmed that one of the nurses involved with the vaccination injections of the two babies who passed away 6th July 2018, was charged by police on Saturday 4th August 2018. She is set to appear in Court 14th August 2018, where the charges will be confirmed publicly.

According to AG Lemalu, “the file was referred to this office for advice last week, after swift and hard-working investigations by the CID section of the Ministry of Police both in Apia and Savaii, which is to be commended.”

“And the decision to charge was thereafter supported by advice; and it is also confirmed by Police, that investigations are still active and on-going.”

We don’t have any information on what the nurse did (or didn’t) do that caused the deaths of these children. But it’s becoming clear that it was not an issue with the vaccine, but with some sort of medical incompetence or malfeasance.

Update #2

As they say, wait a few minutes and the news changes. Radio New Zealand has reported that the nurse in Samoa is facing criminal charges for negligence and “conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.” We still don’t know the details of what she actually did to prompt these charges, but I’m sure there will be future updates.

Stay tuned to this channel for future updates.



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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!