Tuesday September 17, 2019
The current measles outbreak has created pressure across the health system, particularly in Auckland, and we thank you for your continuing work to protect the health of New Zealanders. Over the past two weeks, the Ministry of Health, PHARMAC and DHBs have managed distribution to ensure that MMR vaccine is available to meet priorities. To assist with this process, each DHB has been asked to nominate a single point of contact for stock management.
We will keep working closely with regional distributors, PHOs and practices to manage the distribution of stock over the coming weeks, to ensure that vaccine stock is going to where it is needed most.
The Ministry reiterates the focus on priority groups (detailed below), to help continue the careful management of vaccine stock. We ask that general practice and PHOs reserve vaccine for these priority groups.
The priority for MMR vaccinations should be:
- ensure all children receive their MMR vaccinations on time at 12 months and 4 years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule
- targeted community outreach managed by the three Auckland DHBs, namely groups who are most affected by the outbreak including 15-29 year olds and Pacific peoples within those groups.
Rest of New Zealand
- ensure all children receive their vaccinations on time at 15 months and 4 years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule
- susceptible close contacts within 72 hours of first exposure to measles when possible.
You can help to ensure that MMR vaccine is used to protect the most vulnerable populations by only vaccinating people from the groups listed above.
For patients booked-in to receive MMR or who are eligible but don’t meet the above priorities, we recommend that general practice include them on a recall list for when vaccine stock is sufficient. It’s very important for all of the population to be protected and we don’t want to lose the opportunity to offer MMR to all who are eligible. When stocks are secure, general practices should be offering two documented doses of MMR vaccine to those who need it at no cost, as per the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule.