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Waikato DHB measles emergency response

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waikato DHB is taking the measles epidemic very seriously. It is expected that the Waikato region will see a sharp increase in measles cases in the coming weeks.

Currently routine vaccinations are available.

We are in the process of developing a coordinated campaign for the Waikato population, for when additional vaccine supplies are confirmed.

Our priorities for vaccination (beyond the routine schedule) will be children and others in the 14-37 year age group who are not vaccinated. Māori and Pacific Island communities are a particular focus in our vaccination campaign.

There have been 24 measles cases in Waikato this year. For our latest updates visit our newsroom

Measles can be very serious and spreads very easily. It causes higher risk of death and illness for up to three years.

About 30% of children with measles in Auckland require hospital care.

Death rate from complications - 1:1000-2000. We are now over 1,000 cases in NZ.

To reduce the chance of measles spreading further in the Waikato, the DHB will follow Ministry of Health recommendations to offer free MMR vaccinations to people between 1-50yrs. Our priorities will be to:

Offer MMR vaccination to 14-37 year olds who are either not immunised or can’t show their immunisation status. Our aim is to initially target Māori and Pacific Island people in this age group

Offer MMR vaccination to the children who are not immunised with a focus on reaching Māori and Pacific Island children

Offer early MMR vaccination for children aged 12-15 months with a focus on reaching Māori and Pacific Island babies.

MMR vaccine is the best protection for preventing measles

Most over 50yrs = immune because they had measles as a child

People age between 1-50yrs who can’t show they are immune, need to check and catch up

People aged 14-37yrs have low measles immunity

Due to the current outbreak of measles, children in Waikato can have their first MMR at 12 months. This is a change from the current schedule which is normally given at 15months. The second dose is given at 4yrs.

Working in respectful partnerships with Māori and Pacific leaders will be crucial to success. A detailed plan is being developed and will include:

Securing a reliable vaccine supply

Communications promoting immunisation and access to immunisation services within local communities

Monitoring of numbers required to vaccinate and numbers vaccinated

Workforce training and redeployments. General Practice authorised vaccinators will be a crucial workforce along with pharmacists and others that can be bought in if needed

A community settings approach including education sites, events, churches, shopping malls and workplaces

Using whānau, holistic and culturally centred approaches.

Actions are being taken while formal detailed planning and engagement is being developed. A phased approach will be taken dependant on success with immunisation rates in early stages and the rate and sites of spread of measles cases.

Further updates will be provided as more information comes to hand.

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