Pharmacies will soon be giving out measles vaccines as part of the effort to halt the spread of contagious disease, the Government has announced.
There have been more than 1900 confirmed cases of measles around the country this year, with nearly 1600 as part of an outbreak in Auckland alone.
Authorities two weeks ago announced they believed the spread had peaked.
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There are 864 pharmacists around the country who are allowed to provide vaccinations for the flu, shingles, whooping cough and meningitis, but current rules mean they aren't funded to provide the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.
They've been calling to be allowed to help with this year's outbreak and the Government on Wednesday announced the rules would be changed to allow them to be paid to vaccinate people over 16 years old for measles.
"We're seeing some encouraging progress around new case numbers, but the work of pharmacist vaccinators is an added tool in the fight," Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said.
"In South Auckland, for example, there are around 30 pharmacies in Counties Manukau that could vaccinate and be called on."
But it could still be weeks before people can walk into their local chemist for an MMR jab, with District Health Boards still having to negotiate the contracts for the work.
There are about 450 pharmacies around the country that will be able to provide the service, and Genter said they were a convenient and trusted way to get vaccines to the public.
National Party associate health spokesman Shane Reti has been critical of the speed with which the Government has responded to the outbreak in recent months, saying it ignored red flags earlier in the year and took too long to order more vaccines amid unprecedented demand.
Genter said more than 300,000 vaccines had been distributed around the country this year so far, compared to 150,000 during the whole of 2018. Another 155,000 doses are expected to arrive in the country by January, she said.
This year's measles outbreak was the biggest since 1997.
The Government earlier this month also announced babies in Auckland would be given access to free measles vaccinations from 6 months old.