Hundreds of thousands of young adults will be offered measles vaccinations in a new campaign to strengthen New Zealand’s immunisation system, Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said at its launch in Auckland today.
“About 300,000 young adults aged between 15 and 29 are not fully protected against measles, and this Government is determined to strengthen public health and address under-immunisation,” said Julie Anne Genter.
“Young adults have much lower immunity rates to measles because they were not immunised as children. We are overdue to address that immunisation gap to protect the health of communities.
“Under-immunised people are at risk of catching and spreading this highly-infectious disease, as we saw last year with a measles outbreak in New Zealand. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect and prevent future outbreaks.
“District Health Boards will plan and deliver innovative and localised ways to get young adults immunised. Measles immunisation will be more readily available at easy to access places like schools, workplaces, pharmacies and maraes.
“There will be a focus on improving access and equity for Māori and Pacific young adults in particular.
“The Government is committing $23 million today to strengthen New Zealand’s immunisation system, with more money to come. Included in that funding is $1.4 million for a business case to rebuild our National Immunisation Register to ensure better access to immunisation information.
“More than 350,000 additional Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccines are earmarked for the campaign, and are expected to arrive in April after a six month manufacturing process.
"In 2019, more than 370,000 MMR vaccines were distributed compared to 150,000 in 2018. I'm looking forward to our health system hitting new milestones as the campaign rolls out this year.
“I am proud that this Government has heeded the call from medical professionals, that started in 2015, to run a catch up campaign to address measles.
“We are also progressing the review of the measles outbreak that happened last year to ensure we do all we can to learn from what happened.
“We all benefit when New Zealand has long term protection against future outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella,” Julie Anne Genter says.
NOTE: Anyone up to the age of 50 can visit a primary care provider and receive an MMR vaccination for free.
NOTE: one dose of MMR vaccine will protect 95 percent of people against measles, while two doses will protect 99 percent of people.