HEALTH

The most vulnerable are missing out on measles vaccines, Ministry of Health warns – Stuff.co.nz

The most vulnerable are missing out on measles vaccines, Ministry of Health warns – Stuff.co.nz

As Wellington health practices run out of the measles vaccine, the Ministry of Health say the most vulnerable are missing out. 

Between January to September there have been 1149 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand.

In Wellington, many GPs are nearing the end of their vaccine supply including the Newlands Medical Centre and City GPs. 

“There’s been a huge public response to the current measles situation, and this has meant an unprecedented demand for vaccinations from the wider population,” Ministry of Health director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

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A shipment of 52,000 vaccines is due in New Zealand this weekend and will be distributed where needed from next week.

“Children aged two years and under are more likely to be hospitalised because of measles so it’s imperative they’re vaccinated.”  

So far, there have been 160,000 vaccines provided in 2019 compared to 90,000 vaccines in the same period last year.

The Ministry of Health is asking general practices and PHOs to target measles vaccinations to the most vulnerable.

Newlands Medical said last week they were facing an increased number of calls regarding the measles outbreak and had a limited amount of vaccination stock left. 

Ministry of Health director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said the measles outbreak has brought an

KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Ministry of Health director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said the measles outbreak has brought an “unprecedented demand” for vaccinations.

“We appreciate that this is a concerning time for you, especially if you have travel plans to the most affected parts of NZ.” 

The Ministry of Health has worked with DHBs and the distributors on a stocktake of MMR vaccine supplies.  

The redistribution of national vaccine supplies will focus on Auckland, the ministry said yesterday. 

Demand for vaccinations from the wider population has meant those needing it most have missed out.

belchonock/123RF

Demand for vaccinations from the wider population has meant those needing it most have missed out.

For the rest of the country, the ministry and Pharmac are working to prioritise the distribution of vaccines to practices and PHOs that are low on stock or have run out.

More than 54,000 doses of vaccine were distributed last week.  

The message about vaccination remains the same – all children should get their vaccinations on time to ensure the National Immunisation Schedule remains on track.

The Ministry’s priorities for vaccinations: 

* Ensuring all children across NZ receive their vaccines on time at 15 months (12 months of age in Auckland) and 4 years to maintain the national childhood immunisation schedule.

* Vaccinating groups most affected by the outbreak in the Auckland area, namely children under 4 years of age, those aged 15-29 years and Pacific peoples within these groups.

* Proactively contacting children aged up to 14 years who have not had a single dose of vaccine to get vaccinated.

The priority groups for vaccination are being reviewed regularly.

Stuff

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