One of the most alarming stories I've read in recent weeks is about the measles epidemic in Samoa in which dozens of people have died.
Samoan authorities were forced to shut down the country's government and re-deploy its public servants in an effort to fight a deadly measles outbreak.
All government branches, except water and power utilities, were put on on vaccination efforts.
The government declared a state of emergency, mandating immunisation for children as they seek to overcome low immunisation rates.
Almost two per cent of the population has caught the disease in the outbreak, which had origins in New Zealand
Over 90 percent of the deaths so far were children who hadn't reached their fifth birthdays.
Measles is a highly contagious virus, but preventable through an immunisation usually administered twice in childhood.
Samoa's low vaccination rates made this tragedy preventable and predictable.
World Health Organisation data shows vaccination rates of children dropped from close to 90 per cent five years ago to around a third today.
Vaccination rates for all diseases are falling across the world partly in response to social media misinformation and scare stories.
Anti vaxxers also rely on a lack of trust in government to spread their message, including here in Australia.
University of SA research found that understanding to consequences for the child, societal benefits, and consequences of delaying or avoiding vaccinations had no impact on intention to vaccinate.
It's clear that a major education program is required to make sure this problem in Samoa is not replicated on our shores.
We may even need to look at mandatory vaccinations.
People may see this as a freedom of choice issue. But the greater good needs to be served. No one has the freedom to shout "fire" in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.
Anti vaxxers are cruelly misinformed and need to be shut down quickly before we have a major health crisis on our hands.