You’ve probably heard there’s a measles outbreak in Auckland right now.
This has led to high demand for the Measles Mumps Rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
While it’s good news that so many people have been vaccinated in recent weeks, the vaccine supply now needs to be carefully managed.
As a temporary measure GPs have been asked to prioritise vaccinating those most at risk, keeping most of their vaccine for children younger than five years.
This is because babies and young children are most seriously affected by measles; protecting them is a priority.
GPs may also be able to vaccinate some people under 30 years who haven’t had any MMR vaccinations, particularly Pacific and Māori.
This is because more Pacific and Māori people have been affected by the outbreak, getting seriously ill and needing hospital care.
People aged 30-50 are not a priority for vaccination until we have enough vaccine.
If you are 50 or older, you are likely to have natural immunity to measles because it was circulating widely here and overseas when you were young.
The Ministry of Health says an extra 100,000 doses of MMR vaccine are expected to arrive in New Zealand in the next few months.
Please know the symptoms of measles – a fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, with a rash a few days later.
If you think you might have measles, it’s important to ring your doctor before you visit. That way, if you do have measles, you won’t spread it to others in the waiting room.
More advice and information about measles and MMR vaccination is available by free phoning Healthline on 0800 611 116 or the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 IMMUNE (466 863).