Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew is urging families to make sure they’re immunised against measles before heading away for the school holidays. Since December 2013 there have been more than 200 cases of measles in New Zealand.
The majority of recent cases have been in children and teenagers aged 10 to 19 years in the Waikato region. “Measles is highly preventable with immunisation, so it would be a great shame for children or their caregivers to end up catching it during the holidays,” says Mrs Goodhew. “Families often travel during the school holidays, so immunisation will not only protect you and your children, but help ensure that we don’t spread measles. “Immunisation is the best protection to stop you and your children getting measles. It takes 10 to 14 days for the immunisation to protect you.
There is still time to get yourself and your children vaccinated before the school holidays.” Young children are usually vaccinated at 15 months and 4 years of age. If you aren’t sure whether you or your children are fully immunised against measles, check with your GP. Anyone who is not vaccinated and gets exposed to a case of measles will need to stay home for at least 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
Anyone who suspects they may have measles should phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. It is important to call first before seeing a doctor because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others in the waiting room. Further information can be found at www.health.govt.nz/measles or by calling 0800 IMMUNE.
Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129