'Get immunised': Parents who lost children to vaccine mix-up urge others to put fear aside

Two sets of parents who lost children after a vaccine mix-up in Samoa say parents must get their children vaccinated, despite the suspicion and fear fuelled by the two deaths last year.

They have called the anti-vaccination movement "rumours" that people should ignore.

Their message comes as Samoa's death toll hit 60 on Wednesday, with another 20 children critically ill in hospital due to the outbreak. 

Marieta and Samuelu Tuisuesue's little girl, Lannah Callysta, died on July 6 last year when two nurses incorrectly mixed the MMR vaccine with an expired anaesthetic.

"What I miss most about my daughter is she is the one who always woke me up in the morning to play. She was a joy in our family and loved to dance," father Samuelu Tuisuesue told Newshub.

Lannah Callysta was just a year old. Her parents had been trying to conceive for seven years prior to being blessed with their miracle little girl.

"I urge all parents to please take your children to get immunised. Our child died not because of the medicine, but because it was wrongly administered," Marieta Tuisuesue said.

The parents are now taking legal action against the Ministry of Health, claiming it was ultimately responsible for the nurses' training and oversight.

Sui and Puni'puau Timua are also talking to lawyers. They lost their one-year-old son. 

"It's hard for me as a mother to forget. He was a chubby little boy who always made me happy every morning when I woke up and saw him," Puni'puau Timua told Newshub.

The two deaths and the vaccine mix-up provided momentum for anti-vaxxers.

Yet these parents say getting children vaccinated is essential, labelling the anti-immunisation message as nothing but dangerous.

"We don't believe in those rumours. The vaccination is what is safe," Sui Timua said.

Sixty people, mostly children, are dead - much to the distress of Auckland ICU doctor Chris Poynter and the local staff he is working with.

"Some of those children are dying in front of us, in front of them and in front of other families in the intensive care unit," the intensive care specialist says.