STACY SQUIRES / STUFF
Health professionals are urging parents in Nelson and Marlborough to ensure that their children have been vaccinated against measles.
A widespread measles outbreak in the South Island could reach Nelson and Marlborough, health professionals say.
The dott. Andrew Lindsay, a health official at the Nelson Sanlborough Public Health Service, urged parents to ensure that their children are immunized against measles and to be alert to the symptoms of the highly contagious disease.
"Immunization is the best protection against this potentially fatal disease. New Zealand children should not suffer from measles."
The recent measles epidemic in Canterbury has spread, with two cases reported in Dunedin. [1
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Lindsay said a multidisciplinary team met Thursday to analyze the situation and taking further steps and an accident
He said that parents should check their children's vaccination records and, if in doubt, they should call their family doctor or practical nurse.
"Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine to be fully immunized, but a dose of MMR provides 95% protection."
Lindsay said that there was a perception that measles was a rare or low-risk disease, but that was a misconception. In 2017, more than 30 people died in Europe from measles.
Data from Nelson Marlborough Health show that 87% of 15-month-old children had been vaccinated against measles, 10.2% had decreased and 2.8% had not been completed
Four-year-olds, 88% had been vaccinated, 8.8% had decreased and 3.2% had not been completed on time.
The Ministry of Health recommended all DHBs on Thursday, excluding Canterbury to maintain the national vaccination program for MMR vaccination at the age of 15 months and 4 years.
At the same time, Pharmac confirmed a global shortage of the measles vaccine that forced the authorities to limit supplies.
Pharmac's operations manager Lisa Williams said that there was a limited amount of vaccines globally and that Pharmac's responsibility was to make sure there was enough to satisfy all of New Zealand's needs.
New Zealand usually uses about 12,000 doses of MMR vaccine a month -145,000 doses a year, Williams said.
"We always have a three-month supply in our store nation, and orders arrive regularly to replenish stocks as they are distributed in each region."
"[Pharmac was] continues to work with suppliers locally and to obtain sufficient MMR vaccine volumes for all those in need. " Vaccine supplies arrived in the region on Friday for distribution to general practices.
Nelson GP spokesman, Dr Graham Loveridge, said there were not enough vaccines for everyone, so unvaccinated children and those who had never received a vaccine were a priority.
He had not seen any cases in Nelson yet, but he reminded people to be aware of the symptoms that included a runny nose, fever, red eyes and a red rash on the face and chest.
"It is important that people are not too anxious about this, it is a great incentive to make sure your children are completely vaccinated, this is the best thing a parent can do for their children."