American Samoans to be kept out of school if not vaccinated

Health authorities say students in American Samoa will be stopped from attending high school if they have not been fully vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

In December a two month old child from New Zealand was admitted to LBJ Hospital with symptoms of the disease.

The Department of Health is driving a campaign to promote immunisation after recent cases were recorded in the Northland region of New Zealand

Medical Director Joseph Tufa said parents should make sure their children are protected from the potentially deadly disease.

The department has asked parents to provide proof that their children have received the meningococcal vaccine and booster shot.

The first dose is given to children aged between 11 and 12 years.

But Dr Tufa said the booster shot is also necessary.

"It is very important that teens receive the booster dose at age 16 in order to protect them through the years when they are at greatest risk of meningococcal disease."