More than 3,700 cases of measles have been recorded in the island population of approximately 200,000, with 198 new cases reported between Sunday and Monday.
Samoa, located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, declared an emergency on November 20 and ordered all 200,000 people living on the island to get vaccinated. "When measles begins a country like that, there is a huge group of people who are not safe", she said.
Samoa's Prime Minister has announced a government shutdown in response to the measles epidemic that has claimed the lives of 53 people in the Pacific island nation. The Samoan government issued an update on Wednesday that verified the death toll had risen to 39, with 35 of those deaths minors under the age of four.More news: Watford sack manager Flores after 85 days in charge
Infection rates and deaths are still, however, climbing quickly with five fatalities in the past 24 hours, according to government data, prompting emergency restrictions on public gatherings and travel leading up to Christmas.
UNICEF said Thursday it had delivered 300,000 vaccines as well as medical supplies to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga to respond to the outbreaks.
Those admitted to hospital with the disease included 19 critically ill children and two pregnant women and one post natal. "They'll be doing that in Samoa and it means sometimes things can be worse before they are better".More news: Philip Rivers could get a bench for Tyrod Taylor
Officials have indicated the low rates in part on fears sparked a year ago when two babies died after getting measles vaccination shots.
That low rate was exacerbated by a medical mishap that killed two babies who were administered a vaccine that had been incorrectly mixed, causing wider delays and distrust in the vaccination program.
It says about 33,000 people were vaccinated before last month and since then another 58,000 people have been vaccinated.More news: Travel Woes Pile Up From Winter Storms as Thanksgiving Ends
The World Health Organisation has set a target of wiping out measles from most of the world by next year.