Measles outbreak: Wellington schools, early childhood centres warned of risk

15 March, 2019, 03:56 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Department of Health

Fourteen thousand does of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are now being distributed to Christchurch general practices as the number of confirmed cases of measles has risen to 28 almost three weeks after the outbreak began.

In a lengthy statement Tuesday, Tam says health care providers on the front lines of the battle between truth and misinformation need to help parents navigate fact from fiction.

She says its important we maintain the existing nationwide immunisation programme, but also encourage teenagers and young adults who have never been vaccinated to get immunised.

In the past week, an additional 25 measles cases were reported, with 22 confirmed in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

Last week, Health Canada issued an advisory warning about "false claims" around homeopathic remedies, known as nosodes, as an alternative to vaccines.

The Ministry of Health is working closely with Pharmac and Canterbury DHB to respond to the local Canterbury measles outbreak and ensure our national immunisation schedule continues on track elsewhere in the country.

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"We are targeting to vaccinate our schoolchildren at this time before school closes on April 5, since we are nearly finished vaccinating in our health centers", said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

"Measles is a highly infectious airborne virus which affects both children and adults".

The DOH said that the school-based immunization would be selective, meaning children who already received two doses of the Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) would not be given any more. The disease most often spreads before people even know they are sick.

For children, the effects of the disease can be worse.

In an era where, thanks to the success of vaccines, we are no longer familiar with these risky illnesses, some parents have come to fear the prevention more than the disease. Some have spoken of hard recoveries that have taken weeks or months, sometimes leaving permanent disabilities, and heartbreakingly, some have spoken about losing their children.

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