Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed the launch of a new campaign which encourages people to check if they have been immunised against measles.
“Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease. Immunisation protects you, your family and the wider public,” says Mrs Goodhew.
Since December 2013 there have been 122 confirmed cases of measles with 20 requiring hospital treatment.
“There has been an awareness campaign in response to these recent cases, but to further put to the spotlight on measles it has now been added to the successful ‘Don’t assume you’re immune’ campaign,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“The campaign targets at risk groups through a variety of communication channels including social media, online banner ads and posters.
“Immunisation coverage for measles has varied since the vaccine was introduced in 1969. That means there are gaps in immunity against measles, in particular amongst people born between 1989 and 2001,” says Mrs Goodhew.
The measles vaccine is free for all New Zealand residents born from 1 January 1969, and two doses are required in order to be fully protected. People are encouraged to talk to their GP or practice nurse about getting vaccinated.
Anyone who suspects they may have measles should call their GP, or Healthline on 0800 611 116, as soon as possible. It’s important to call before visiting a GP surgery or emergency department, so that staff can take steps to prevent measles being spread to people in the waiting room.
Further information can be found at www.health.govt.nz/measles or by calling 0800 IMMUNE.