The babies were brought to Safotu Hospital in Savai’i on Friday, where they died within minutes of the receiving the MMR vaccine, Television New Zealand reported.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi expressed his condolences to the families on Monday.
“I have called a full inquiry into the circumstances leading up to this devastating incident which I do not take lightly,” he said.
“There are already processes that will determine if negligence is a factor. And if so, rest assured those processes will be implemented to the letter to ensure that such a tragedy will not be repeated and those responsible will be made to answer.”
Leausa Take Naseri, director general of health, said he has halted the vaccination program until the inquiry’s completion. He has also requested a forensic autopsy on the two babies, as the deaths are also being investigated by police.
Hospital staff involved have also been removed for their own safety, Radio New Zealand reported.
“We’re also concerned for the safety of our workers especially the nurses who were involved because it’s now easily blamed — the finger is pointed towards the nurses,” Naseri said.
In 2019, the leaders of Samoa closed its borders to travelers who did not have proof of vaccination records, including its own citizens. That hardline stance against measles means that for many American Baby Boomers who contracted measles as a child and have natural, true immunity and are either living in, or traveling to, Samoa must be given a jab against an infection their immune system had already conquered. The inoculation would not be solely for measles, but would also include a faulty attenuated mumps