10 Sep 2019

Pacific immunisation rates in South Auckland among the highest

10:41 am on 10 September 2019

Health authorities say immunisation rates among the Pacific community remain some of the highest in Auckland.

Dr Richard Hulme holding Measles Vaccine

Dr Richard Hulme holding Measles Vaccine Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Counties Manukau District Health Board said the uptake of the MMR vaccine is high, despite a temporary suspension of the vaccination programme in Samoa last year.

The DHB's General Manager of Child, Youth and Maternity, Carmel Ellis, said a lot of work has been done to rebuild confidence and there has not been a dramatic decrease in Pacific rates in Auckland.

She said more than 4,000 people have been immunised at drop-in clinics and clinicians are working hard to improve access.

"Our Pacific rates are actually one of the highest. So, it's not a real concern for us, from the data we've got on the National Immunisation Register. It's more our 15 years and above, that we don't have really good data because that information is not kept on the central register."

William Rainger the Medical Officer of Health for Auckland Regional Public Health said the outbreak started in West Auckland, spread to Central, but really took off in South Auckland partly due to the degree of vaccination coverage, housing conditions, mobility of people and the level of contagion of the virus.

From the beginning of the year until Monday there have been 1131 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand - 944 of the confirmed cases were in the Auckland region.

The Ministry of Health said the most recent measles epidemics occurred in 1991, (the number of cases was estimated to be in the tens of thousands), and 1997, (2,169 cases identified).

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