HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -As the death toll from measles rose and the threat of more infections led Western Samoa to literally shut down the island nation, Hawaii came to the rescue.
The vaccination mission was quickly mobilized by multiple organizations and businesses and led by Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.
We hope it can help Samoa turn the corner on an epidemic that threatens so many who have only slight protection from their undeveloped health care system.
While Hawaii has often sent volunteers and donations to pacific nations after natural disasters, to respond to a public health emergency with the best technology and expertise available in the Pacific is extraordinary.
It’s also selfless. Hawaii residents are mostly safe from Measles because of our robust mandatory vaccination system. This is not the kind of crisis we are likely to face.
So the mission sends a message that Hawaii remains deeply connected to Polynesia and that we are there for our fellow island communities in time of crisis.
We do share much more than a common ocean.
We will share crises ahead as climate change raises sea levels and displaces communities, and brings more devastating storms.
Developing ties like these will make our Pacific community more resilient for the challenges to come.