Jacinda Ardern is horrified over reports a Samoan toddler was refused a measles vaccination in New Zealand because he didn’t have a Kiwi passport
- Ardern said it’s ‘outrageous’ a Samoan toddler was refused a measles vaccine
- The boy was denied the vaccine because he didn’t have a New Zealand passport
- His parents left him with his godparents to avoid risking the deadly disease
- The measles outbreak has killed 60 people with 50 of them under five-years-old
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it is ‘outrageous’ that a Samoan child was denied a vaccine because they aren’t a New Zealand citizen before returning home to the measles epidemic
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been left horrified over reports a Samoan toddler was denied a measles vaccination in New Zealand because he wasn’t a Kiwi citizen.
Ardern said it was ‘outrageous’ the child was refused a vaccine before traveling back to Samoa in the midst of the measles outbreak that has killed 60 people, with 50 of them under the age of five.
‘I heard this last night and I thought it was outrageous, given this current situation – I am minded to ask questions there,’ Ardern said, as reported by the NZ Herald.
The 15-month-old boy visited New Zealand with his family, who left him behind with his godparents to avoid him coming home and risking the deadly disease.
He was reportedly refused the vaccine at an Auckland clinic because he didn’t have a New Zealand passport, and flew back to Apia on Upolu island on Tuesday, which is hosting 98% of the measles cases.
Samoan health officials announced on Tuesday that 3,881 people have now caught the preventable disease in the deadly outbreak
Ardern said she would approach Health Minister David Clark and ask why the boy was refused.
‘The fact that we didn’t assist one child in New Zealand when we are giving vaccinations to Samoa to vaccinate feels nonsensical to me,’ Ardern said.
Ardern also took aim at artist Garrick Tremain, who sparked wide-spread outrage with his cartoon about Samoa’s measles epidemic in the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday.
The cartoon depicts two middle-aged white women walking out of a travel agent and reads: ‘I asked ”What are the least popular spots at the moment?” She said ”the ones people are picking up in Samoa”.’
Ardern said the cartoon was insensitive.
‘This is affecting children and babies – it’s absolutely horrific,’ she said. ‘No one takes it lightly, New Zealand is doing all we can to assist.’
Tremain apologised for his cartoon, saying it ‘should not have been put forward for publication’ and blamed his lack of judgement.
A child receiving a measles vaccination at a clinic in Apia, Samoa, in November 2019
A cartoon about the Samoan measles epidemic (pictured) has been slammed as being racist