Measles outbreak: Auckland schools ask for vaccination clinics

7:53 am on 2 September 2019

Schools and a marae are asking Auckland health officials for more pop-up vaccination clinics to help combat the measles outbreak.

Pediatrician makes vaccination to small boy

More than 300 people were given the measles vaccine at free clinics set up by Counties Manukau District Health Board over the weekend (stock photo). Photo:

More than 300 people were vaccinated over the weekend at free clinics set up by Counties Manukau District Health Board.

The clinics are a response to the worst outbreak in New Zealand in 22 years, with 937 cases reported nationwide, 700 of them in Auckland. Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated and the government activated a national response late last week. The head of Auckland's Starship hospital warned some children were likely to die because of the outbreak.

Carmel Ellis of Counties Manukau DHB said more then 300 were vaccinated in a "really busy" weekend.

"For Saturday, between the three sites, we saw about 180 people come through the clinics. At the Manukau SuperClinic it was about 108, and at the Tongan church about 68," Ms Ellis said, while staff at the Clendon clinic were moved to the Manukau SuperClinic to help out.

Ms Ellis said efforts would would continue through the week and extra pop-up clinics would be announced.

Community groups in Mangere and Otara and a group of schools had asked for help with vaccinations.

"I think there are about seven schools that have come together and they're wanting us to do a mass vaccination campaign. They're willing to do all the coordination for us and then we'll come onsite and provide that to the students and to the families of the children.

"We also have a request from one of our marae so we'll be looking to work alongside them as well," Ms Ellis, boards manager for child, youth and maternity services, said.

The Manukau SuperClinic would operate every day from 9am-4pm and the Clendon clinic 9am-4pm on Monday to Friday.

More than 50 schools in the Auckland region have dealt with measles this year.

Mangere College had three confirmed cases a few weeks ago with about 100 students asked to stay home.

Principal Tom Webb said they had been gathering immunisation records for students and helping letting families know where they could go to get vaccinated.

"We've been publicising that information to all of our families, encouraging them to get vaccinated.

"One of our school nurses has just been on a training course on Thursday and Friday so that she's now qualified to do the vaccinations herself which means we'll be able to start vaccinating any students who haven't been vaccinated before.

He said the school would have to notify families first but it hoped to get started early this week.

The outbreak caused the cancellation of a high school rugby league championship over the weekend.

School Sport New Zealand said as of last night the 79 other sport tournaments that are due to host 20,000 students this week were going ahead, but it was in close contact with health officials.

Counties Manukau District Health Board has trained 25 nurses to carry out vaccinations at schools.

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