7 Nov 2017

Mumps vaccination campaign to target teens

6:06 pm on 7 November 2017

Health authorities are starting a campaign to immunise young people who missed out on mumps vaccinations.

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Photo: AFP

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has seen 740 new cases of mumps this year, the city's worst numbers since 1994.

The immunisation programme is set to begin in west Auckland this month and target Year 9 and 10 pupils.

Immunisation is also available free from family doctors and health centres for anyone born from 1969 onwards.

The Waitemata DHB said it was rolling out the initiative to immunise teenagers who might have missed their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine as young children.

"The only way to be sure your child is protected from needless suffering and the risk of potential hospitalisation is to have them immunised," said Waitemata DHB paediatrician Tim Jelleyman.

"We ask parents to make up-to-date immunisation a priority."

Dr Jelleyman said the programme would take place through the last school weeks of 2017 and continue into the first term of 2018.

Immunisation consent forms would be distributed for students, parents and caregivers at schools included in the first stages of the exercise over the next few days.

Auckland University senior lecturer in vaccinology Helen Petousis-Harris said there was a group of people aged about 10 to 30 who had not been immunised.

She said it will be harder to reach people who were not vaccinated in the older end of that age group.

The Ministry of Health recommends a dose of the MMR vaccine at 15-months, followed by another at four-years-old.

It said anyone who did not know whether their children had received the two doses should have them vaccinated anyway and there was no health risk associated with a third dose.

Mumps is caused by an airborne virus and causes fever, headaches and swelling of the glands around the face. It may, in rare cases, lead to infertility in males and can cause meningitis and encephalitis.

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