Priority cases for measles immunisation in Northland has been widened to include people aged over 30 years who are vulnerable, including frontline healthcare workers and teachers.

There have been 64 confirmed cases of measles in Northland while three others were under investigation, and the Northland District Health Board said those most vulnerable should be immunised.

Nationally, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1500 while two unborn babies have died after their mothers caught measles during the recent outbreak of the disease.

The current immunisation priorities in Northland are those at 15 months and 4 years, one dose for under 30s who haven't previously had one, and people between 30 and 50 years old based on clinical judgment.


They must be immunocompromised, live with someone who is unable to be immunised, are frontline healthcare staff or a teacher at a primary or secondary school.

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Northland DHB medical officer of health Dr Catherine Jackson said GPs and drop-in clinics would continue to offer free measles vaccination to the most vulnerable which were people under 30 years of age.

"We currently have sufficient vaccine supply to maintain the current childhood immunisation schedule and meet current demand in Northland for people under 30 years of age.

"From the beginning of school in term four, MMR vaccine will be offered to children who have not had an MMR along with the Year 7/8 HPV immunisation programme."

Jackson said parents and healthcare workers have responded admirably to the challenge during a difficult time.

She said MMR vaccine stocks and use in Northland were being closely monitored and the Northland DHB would advise if the current immunisation priorities changed.

Northland DHB clinics for 15 months, 4 years and up to 30-year-olds who have not had an MMR are being held at 22b Commerce St in Whangārei on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8.30am and 4pm.


The other drop-in clinic is at the Kaitaia Hospital Whare on Thursdays from 12.45pm to 4pm.

Children who have not been immunised or who are immunocompromised should stay away from schools where measles cases have been reported, Jackson said.

People over the age of 50 are considered immune and don't need an immunisation.

Pregnant women should not get immunised against measles but if they think they may have the disease or have come in contact with an infected person, they should call their general practice, lead maternity carer or Healthline on 0800 611 116 as soon as possible.

Jackson said infants aged 6 to 15 months old travelling overseas should receive an early dose of the MMR vaccine at least two weeks before travelling to a country with an active measles outbreak.