Starship welcomes change in first MMR vaccination age

With at least 104 measles cases in Auckland so far this year, Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) and the Ministry of Health, recommend all 12-month-old children in the region receive their first MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination early to protect them from the highly infectious viral illness which Auckland GPs have taken on board. Starship Hospital welcomes the change.

 

 

Starship Community Nurse Leilani Hipa says it’s an appropriate response to the current measles outbreak bringing in more children with the illness.

 

“The team at Starship Hospital have seen some very unwell children coming with measles.

 

“It’s heart-breaking that kids are suffering like this from a preventable illness.”

 

She urges parents to get children vaccinated free of charge at their local GP, in order to avoid them catching such a horrible virus.

 

“What I tell the families I work with is that vaccination is not just for them, it’s for those around them who are vulnerable and are not able to get the vaccination, such as young babies and people undergoing some cancer treatments. Do it for those who can’t.”

 

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses, and anyone who is not immune and who has been in the same space as someone with the illness is at risk of becoming unwell.

 

Leilani says the early symptoms of measles are a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and then a rash.

 

ARPHS clinical director Dr Julia Peters says the only effective way to reduce the impact of measles is to increase vaccination rates in the region.

 

Receiving the first dose of MMR at 12 months will increase levels of immunity in the community and provide added protection for these infants.

 

GPs can provide all four 15 month vaccinations at the same time for convenience and simplicity.

 

Children will continue to receive the second MMR at 4 years as usual.

 

A document uploaded to the Immune Advisory Centre website showed ARPHS would also be changing its response in the next fortnight, "as contact tracing is not stopping the spread of the virus".

 

If you think you or your child has measles – or you’ve been in contact with someone you believe has the disease – it’s important to call your doctor or healthcare centre before turning up so you can be isolated on arrival.

 

For more information and translated resources and fact sheets go to www.arphs.health.nz
 


12/06/19