Making it easier to get vaccinated against measles

It will be easier to get protected from measles following greater outreach efforts in south Auckland, says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter.

“The most important thing people can do right now is to get vaccinated," says Julie Anne Genter.

"To help make this happen, the Government and the Ministry of Health are increasing support for immunisation services, including employing more nurse vaccinators.

“I'm very concerned by the rising numbers of cases, particularly for young Pasifika people in Counties Manukau.  New Zealand currently has the highest number of recorded cases of measles since 1997 and because measles is so contagious, infection spreads particularly quickly among unimmunised people.

"Immunisation is free, but we know it can be difficult for people to get to their general practice. That's why the DHB Outreach Immunisation team will be working hard to reach people who might not be currently engaged or enrolled with primary care. The DHB is currently considering how best increase opportunities right across its community.

"That means nurse vaccinators might be rostered to appear in a range of locations like malls, schools and churches and at a range of times including weekends and evenings.  The DHB is currently working through the detail of exactly where clinics are likely to be, and will provide its communities with more detail as soon as possible.

“Team members will also be in clinical settings such as Middlemore Hospital's Emergency Department and Kidz First paediatric Ward and I want to thank all staff at Counties Manukau DHB for their commitment to managing this outbreak.

"If you’re thinking of travelling into or out of Auckland, you should make sure you're vaccinated at least two-weeks before you go. This includes children from 12 months old.

"There's a real risk that people travelling from Auckland may also spread measles to other regions of New Zealand and further abroad, including to countries in the Pacific that are measles free. If you're feeling sick, you should stay away from work, school or public places, to help prevent putting other people at risk.

“New Zealand's measles outbreaks are reflective of what's happening internationally. There are significant outbreaks occurring worldwide and cases from these countries are coming into Aotearoa. If you're travelling overseas, make sure you're protected.

"The MMR vaccine is free for anyone under 50 who hasn't had two documented doses and is available nationwide from your General Practice.

"If you or a family member suspect you have measles, you should stay at home and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your doctor to alert them. If you have measles it's important to avoid spreading it to others in the waiting room,” says Julie Anne Genter.