APIA,19 DECEMBER 2019 (SAVALI NEWSPAPER) —It’s now a binding law, vaccination for any Samoan child from birth is compulsory as prescribed by the Infants Amendment Bill 2019 passed by ParliameCalling the Bill – O le Tulafono ole Alofa, (Law of Love) the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says that Government has decided to have their concerns addressed in and by the highest decision making authority of the land – Parliament.
And its Government’s response to the measles outbreak and insurance that Samoa will not be left vulnerable to any future epidemics.
The legislation has far reaching consequences bringing together a number of key government sectors and the community stakeholders to play a leading role in the execution and implementation of the new law which comes with stiff fines as well as denying any child who does not meet the requirement an education.
“Government will no longer be standing on the side lines,” says the Prime Minister in tabling the legislation that includes amendments to the Infants Ordinance 1961, the Education Act 2009, the Village Fono Act 1990, the Internal Affairs Act 1995, and the Ministry of Women Affairs Act 1990.
And by incorporating amendments from the five different legislations, it speaks audible volumes to the Government’s message that they mean serious business.
Paramount to Government is to ensure a whole of society approach to, and a holistic implementation of this policy, the relevant laws are also amended.
For instance, it is now mandatory for parents or carers to ensure their child is vaccinated from birth.
Non-compliance attracts a penalty of up to $10,000(US$3,760).
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Bill now requires a certified copy of a complete, vaccination and immunisation record of a child from birth, is now a prerequisite for school enrolment.
Failure to provide this certified copy of a complete, vaccination and immunisation record of a child from birth, means the child cannot be accepted in a school (primary or secondary).
And parents or carers should also take note because if they wilfully or recklessly provides false information in lieu of a certified copy of a complete, vaccination and immunisation record of a child from birth, they are liable to a fine up to $10,000(US$3,760).
School Principals will also suffer similar repercussions should they accept a child for enrolment without the fulfilment of the prerequisite of a certified copy of a complete, vaccination and immunisation record of a child from birth. The fine is up to $10,000(US$3,760).
And it is a must for all schools, whether government, church, private or village, early childhood education centres to have vaccination policies that complies with the Ministry of Health requirements.
For those schools which have registered before the commencement of the Education Act 2009, they have 6 months to produce a policy. Failure to do so, may be a ground for de-registration.
Village Councils are now required by law to develop health related policies, including vaccination and immunisation policies.
In addition, effective 1st January 2020, it will be the duty of the Sui o le Nuu or Sui o le Malo, to require the vaccination and immunisation of children born in respect of his village, pursuant to the requirements of the Ministry of Health, and to develop a system to monitor and ensure this is carried out. The law binding mandate also applies to the respective Sui Tamaitai o le Nuu,
And Parliament endorsed the “Law of Love” with little fuss…..PACNEWS