WAG compares Samoa to Nazi Germany over vaccinations
AFTER 24 child measles deaths, Samoa has brought in compulsory vaccination and warned anti-vaxxers but a prominent rugby league WAG has defiantly dubbed the country "NaziSamoa" on Instagram.
Claiming the lives of 24 children and one adult, Samoa's measles epidemic has closed schools, resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency and the vaccination mandate.
The dead include 11 infants under 12 months, 13 children aged between one and five years, and a person aged in their 30s.
The measles epidemic sweeping the South Pacific nation has now reached 2200 people diagnosed with the infectious disease since the outbreak last month.
This figure includes including 140 new cases just within the past day, as international warnings were made about the country's dangerously low immunisation rate.
Samoa's state of emergency, declared last week, has seen children aged under 17 banned from public gatherings.
But the mandate for compulsory vaccination of all children and adults has met resistance from anti-vaxxers, notably Taylor Winterstein.
The WAG and mother-of-two runs $200-a-head workshops on the dangers of vaccinations and has 15,300 Instagram followers.
The wife of Samoan international and Penrith second rower, Frank Winterstein, she has likened the vaccination mandate to Nazi Germany, and reposted her opinion again following the 24 child deaths.
This defies a warning by Samoa Attorney-General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff to anyone discouraging vaccinations, the Samoa Observer reported.
Mr Retzlaff said "(Samoan) Law enforcement is open to receiving notice, complaints, or evidence of any person … discouraging or going as far as preventing our community from vaccination".
But one day, on her Instagram page, Ms Winterstein reposted the #NaziSamoa hashtag.
She wrote: "Remember when I said Samoa was TURNING into Nazi Germany?!.....
I will post it here AGAIN.
"If you want to be injected with vaccines, GO AHEAD, inject away.
"But UNDERSTAND there are DISTRESSED PARENTS in Samoa who DO NOT want their children injected with this toxic MMR vaccine and are LITERALLY HIDING in their homes to avoid Govt authorities."
In an alarmist paragraph, Ms Winterstein outlined the Samoan government tactics she has likened to Nazi Germany including "ambulances doing drive bys to find children who are unvaccinated".
She wrote: "Door knocking has begun to vaccinate on the spot … police officers willing to arrest anyone who dares speak up … AND children being forced to get vaccinated".
The measles outbreak is believed to have originated in New Zealand and swept across other Pacific nations, but hit Samoa hard due to its low vaccination rate.
Samoa's Ministry of Health released figures saying two-thirds of its 200,000 residents are vaccinated.
However the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates Samoa's vaccination rate is much lower, between 28 and 40 per cent.
The office of the Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, issued a statement saying compulsory vaccination was legally binding.
"Any person that actively discourages or prevents in any way members of the community from receiving their vaccination injection, is hereby warned, to cease immediately, and is similarly warned not to take any further action of that kind," the statement said
It remains unclear how the orders will be enforced, or what the punishment for offenders might be.
Ms Winterstein was slammed last week, along with Bra Boy Koby Abberton, for her anti-vaxxer stance.
With her twin sister Stevie, who is also non-medically qualified, she runs a $2000-plus course to "break mainstream" medical advice and practices called "Break Up With Your Bulls**t".
Responses to Taylor Winterstein's repost yesterday of the "Nazi Samoa" quote, drew some supportive responses and others slamming her.
While @Eliota_Sapolu posted alongside a #NaziSamoa hashtag that his friends were mostly "pro vax", he said they were worried about Samoa's "s**t India vaccine" for measles.
Including a post which read "I rather infect my children with measles" than risk the Indian vaccine, he wrote "People are really going to be hiding their children in the attic".
However, Ms Winterstein had her detractors, like @samariamitchell_xo, who posted "I live in Samoa and I just wana know how? Where is your proof?
"Because centres, clinics and church halls are packed with parents wanting their kids vaxx?"
And @henriettahunkin, who posted: "Jeepers people read the comments of the people actually IN SAMOA! This is not happening.
"Do not feel sorry for the Samoan people, feel sorry for the 22 children already!"
Health authorities say it takes between 10 and 14 days for a vaccine to start working.
Ms Winterstein advocates taking Vitamin A for measles.