Tuesday, July 23, 2024


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce


Vitamin A Shipped to Samoa 

Health officials in Samoa, assisted by international health organizations, have struggled to manage a surge in measles and apparent deaths from measles on the impoverished island since the first laboratory confirmed cases were reported in September 2019.  A state of emergency was declared on November 15, and by December 11, 4995 measles cases had been recorded, and 72 people, mostly young children, had died.1

According to RNZ (Radio New Zealand), private citizens from Australia, New Zealand and the United States sent doses of vitamin A to the beleaguered country as treatment for those who were already infected. The shipments of vitamin A were received by Samoan businessman Edwin Tamasese, who states that the vitamin A treatments worked. “We’re having really good success, like in 16 hours we’re having kids that are lying there looking like they’re going to pass away, and they are weak, but then they get up and start drinking, and start to eat.”2

Vitamin A deficiency is recognized as risk factor for severe measles, and since 1987 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have recommended a two-dose Vitamin A treatment to reduce complications of measles.3 4

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also endorses the vitamin A protocol for treating measles infections.5 Although cod liver oil, which is high in vitamin A, has long been a folk remedy for measles,6 7 8 Dr. Alfred Sommer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, first identified the beneficial role of vitamin A in measles treatment as part of his research on vitamin A and night vision in the 1970’s.9

Dr. Sommers wondered, “Could the vitamin A deficiency that was causing night blindness also be making the children fatally susceptible to mild childhood illnesses like measles and diarrhea?”10 Subsequent research by Dr. Sommers and others has confirmed that vitamin A  treatment can mitigate complications of measles, such as blindness, as well as reduce mortality especially in young infants.4 11 12 13 14

But the reaction to the Vitamin A shipments by citizens has been “mixed” according to RNZ, including criticism on social media. The World Health Organization’s Nikki Turner said online misinformation claiming children could be treated with vitamins had “no scientific evidence” behind them, and that such claims were “conning” people from getting correct treatment.2

Scientist Ian Mackay, who specializes in virology at the University of Queensland, said anti-vax rhetoric about vitamin A peddled on social media is “not correct.” The CDC has dispatched a behavioral scientist to the area to help with vaccine related communications, and spokesperson Amy Rowland states that “the first priority is making sure we have healthy vaccine demand.”4

Within Samoa, malnutrition is a “growing health concern, particularly for children.”15 Vitamin A treatment costs two or three pennies per dose9 and unlike vaccines, can be administered easily by parents or other providers because it does not require special training or refrigeration. While the vitamin A shipments by citizens to reduce complications in those with measles infections are disparaged in the press and social media, UNICEF has sent 30,000 vitamin A tablets along with 110,500 doses of measles containing vaccine to the island of Samoa.16

1 Gibney K. Measles in Samoa: how a small island nation found itself in the grips of an outbreak disaster. The Conversation Dec. 11, 2019.
2 Anti-vaxers send vitamin A to Samoa. RNZ Dec. 1, 2019.
3 World Health Organization. Weekly epidemiological record Relevé épidémiologique hebdomadaire. WHO. int Aug. 28, 2009; 35(84): 349–360
4 Al Ja Effectiveness of measles vaccination and vitamin A treatment. International Journal of Epidemiology Mar. 23, 2010; 39(1): i48-i55.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles (Rubeola). CDC.gov Feb. 5, 2018.
6 Pope S. Cod Liver Oil: Myths and Truths of an Ancient Superfood. The Healthy Home Economist.
7 Guy RA. The History of Cod Liver Oil as a Remedy. Am J Dis Child 1923; 26(2): 112-116.
8 Atkinson K. Cod Liver Oil – A Short History & It’s Benefits. Mind, Body and Soul Nov. 9, 2011.
9 Najera RF. Vitamin A and Measles. The History of Vaccines Mar. 12, 2019.
10 Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS. PBS.
11 The Story of Vitamin A. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
12 Sommer A. Vitamin A prophylaxis. BMJ Journals 77(33).
13 D’Souza RM. Vitamin A for treating measles in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002.
14 Huiming Y, Chaomin W, Meng M. Cochrane review: Vitamin A for treating measles in children. Cochrane Review Sept. 29, 2006.
15 Michaels. Malnutrition in Samoa. The Borgen Project June 19, 2015.
16 Pacific Measles Outbreak: UNICEF is supporting the Government of Samoa to respond to a measles outbreak in the country. ReliefWeb Nov. 19, 2019.

3 Responses

  1. From what people on the ground are reporting there is a infrastructure deficiency in Samoa. Lack of personal as well a community hygiene, nutrition, refrigeration, and potable water—items many in the modern world take for granted—are the real delta between measles deaths in the Third World versus mild measles cases in the first, which come and go, and rarely result in fatalities.

    Researchers for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rochelle Rainey and Merri Weinger see it:

    “The lack of safe water, functional toilets, and handwashing facilities in healthcare settings pose significant risks to patients, healthcare workers, and surrounding communities.”

    Modern infrastructure is the cornerstone of what reduces the spread of infection. Note, those environmentalist researchers didn’t say vaccines were at the heart of disease reduction; it was improving human basic living needs.

    Whenever vaccine pushers and their trolls want to terrorize people they always bring up Smallpox or Polio. Well, it can no longer be hidden that the Polio vaccine has created more cases of Polio than endemic or wild Polio. The cases ae coming from the vaccine Smallpox. This is what Dr. Thomas Mack, the foremost authority o Smallpox had to say in 2002 when the Bush administration wanted to mandate the Smallpox vaccine for the country due to the Gulf War:

    “If people are worried about endemic smallpox, it disappeared from this country not because of our mass herd immunity. It disappeared because of our economic development. And that’s why it disappeared from Europe and many other countries, and it will not be sustained here, even if there were several importations, I’m sure. It’s not from universal vaccination.”

    Atlanta Marriott Century Center
    The verbatim transcript of the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center, Atlanta, Georgia, on June 19 and 20, 2002.

    Infrastructure is the key. Stop dumping vaccines and start helping build clear water systems, toilets and sewage drainage systems, provide soap, toilet paper, provide foods with high nutritional value rather than just staples like rice & beans. Basic health care that doesn’t include a shite load of drugs & vaccines. Things like this are what’s needed and the WHO & UNICEF knows this.

  2. Hasn’t anyone sought to find out the strain of measle virus in the outbreak.? There was that study done of a California 2015 outbreak that showed that the strain of virus causing the cases was precisely the vax-version of measles virus.. it was coming from the vaxxed people…… totally suspicious since those researchers had been demonstrating their newest improved dna testing that was fast and easy… surely anyone worried about how to cope with an outbreak would have been on the spot to get that testing in their own toolbox of resources….. don’t you think so ?

  3. Also, the vaccine supposedly takes 2 weeks to become “effective” after the jab, so how many are dying even after the jab ? How many are shedding this virus everywhere as happened with Polio vaccines in the Philippines? Any surveys on the numbers dying who were vaccinated and with what strain as MJ states above. And these isolated populations in small Pacific nations I bet have a lowered immunity to any communicable diseases as they historically have. The exposure to a Vax- strain rather than the wild strain of measles could be causing this. Here in NZ, the natives suffered and died from exposure to white man’s diseases brought here with colonisation and many died. And our morning tv breakfast news shows had the gall to tell us that even in the 50’s when I was young and had measles that death rates were high, we just did not know about it because the populations were larger so the deaths were spread far and wide and you would not know. I distinctly recall as a child when someone died in our schools and we went to large schools with thousands of students. So this is just more rubbish to try to convince us that what is happening in Samoa is what used to happen during my childhood days. No, it was not. We had parents having parties to get their kids over having these childhood diseases and once done with, no more problems. If there were fatalities on the scale we are seeing in Samoa, I don’t think any parents would have knowingly exposed their kids to that risk. There was virtually no risk. These populations are low in certain nutrients and Vit A is surely one of them. Their diets should be studied to confirm this if it hasn’t been done already.

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