A senior nurse has been charged with manslaughter in relation to the deaths of two 1-year-olds who died shortly after getting vaccinated in Samoa last month.

Local media reported that the nurse was officially charged on Friday and is due to appear in court tomorrow.

Authorities continue investigations into the deaths of Lannacallystah Samuelu and Lameko Si'u, who died shortly after receiving a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination at Safotu District Hospital, on the island of Savaii, on July 6.

The manslaughter charge comes after police charged the woman with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice and negligence.


She is understood to have more than 30 years' experience and is well regarded among her peers.

A Samoan Police spokesman told the Herald they could not comment about a second nurse who, along with her colleague, was removed from the medical centre after the deaths for safety reasons.

The spokesman confirmed the senior nurse remains in police custody.

Meanwhile, members of the Nurses Association of Samoa are questioning the decision to charge the senior nurse when post-mortem results have not yet been received from an Australian specialist who carried out the children's examinations.

President for the group, Solialofi Papāli'i, told the Samoa Observer: "There is one other nurse who administered the other vaccination and yet she is not charged, so we are puzzled.

"We were told that the nurse that is now in custody was the one who mixed the vaccination, but we are not sure whether she was the one who mixed both vaccination for both toddlers.''

Following the deaths, all MMR vaccinations in Samoa were stopped until the completion of the investigation. All vaccines - unused or partly used - were also recalled, nationwide.

A coronial inquest into the deaths of the toddlers will be held on September 12.