Jacinda Ardern slams 'outrageous' Auckland clinic that refused to vaccinate Samoan toddler

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has slammed an Auckland clinic for refusing to vaccinate a Samoan toddler, calling the incident "outrageous".

The 15-month-old boy, who returned to Apia on Tuesday, was denied an MMR vaccine while visiting family in New Zealand. His godfather, Mark Wendt, says the unidentified Auckland clinic refused to immunise the boy as he didn't have a New Zealand passport.

"I heard [about] this last night. I thought it was outrageous given this current situation," Ardern told reporters on Wednesday.

"I am minded to ask questions about what happened."

The toddler stayed for an extended time with his godfather and godmother as his parents didn't want him to return to Samoa amid the measles epidemic.

Ardern says she will personally follow up on the incident with Health Minister David Clark to figure out why the toddler was refused a vaccine.

As of Wednesday, 60 people have died in Samoa from the measles outbreak. A mass door-to-door vaccination campaign will be launched this week in an effort to control the highly-contagious disease.

"The fact we didn't assist one child in New Zealand - when we are giving vaccination[s] to Samoa to vaccinate -  feels nonsensical," Ardern says.

The Prime Minister also berated a controversial Otago Daily Times' cartoon making light of the measles crisis, which depicts two women walking out of a travel agency.

The caption reads: "I asked 'what are the least popular spots at the moment." She said 'The ones people are picking up in Samoa'."

"I was horrified as well by the cartoon I saw yesterday... and the [Otago Daily Times] around the issue of the horrific measles outbreak.

"This is affecting children and babies - it's absolutely horrific. No one takes it lightly, New Zealand is doing all we can to assist."

Cartoonist Garrick Tremain and the newspaper have both apologised for the comic, which has been labelled as "insensitive" and "heartless" across social media.

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