Due to the extremely short supply of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in the Bay of Plenty, young children already scheduled for their routine measles jabs will be given priority.

There have been 30 confirmed cases of measles in the Western Bay of Plenty PHO area since January 1 and the demand from people to get vaccinated continues to grow.

Due to the flood of demand for vaccinations Bay of Plenty health agencies say they will prioritise children already scheduled for their jabs at 15 months and 4 years old.

Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation's general practice services manager Phil Back said adults who received childhood MMR vaccinations were sufficiently covered.


"Anyone else is asked to call their GP to register their request for a vaccination, but only if you believe you have never had an MMR vaccination," Back said.

"These requests would start to be met when further stocks were available, which is likely to be by the middle or end of next week but even then, the region is likely to be in catch-up mode."

The "pause" in the supply of the vaccine that the Ministry of Health placed over the weekend continued through to Monday to support a national stocktake to be undertaken.

The Ministry of Health said existing stocks of MMR were being distributed to high priority areas, including Auckland and Dunedin in the first instance, with any residual stock being dispersed across lower priority areas.

Another 52,000 vaccines are expected to arrive in New Zealand within the week, but it's not yet clear when they will be available for patients in the Bay of Plenty, Back said.

Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty would receive 500 vaccines out of 1760 available for the Midland region (including the Waikato, Taranaki, Tairawhiti and Bay of Plenty) and these will be prioritised for scheduled vaccinations for young children.

Currently, the Midland region had orders in for 7300 vaccines, Back said.

"We worked hard with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to ensure we put our case forward for more stock of the vaccine to be directed to the Bay of Plenty," he said.


General practices across the Bay of Plenty were experiencing "high numbers of local patients and their families" asking for the MMR vaccination.

"What people need to realise is that there is an extremely limited supply of MMR vaccines left in the Bay of Plenty and so we are going to have to wait for further supplies to arrive."

General practices were taking names of those wanting to receive the vaccination so that when the region does receive stock, those patients will be contacted, Back said.

Tensions "have flared" at general practices with patients demanding to be vaccinated, and Back has asked for "calm and patience".

"It is also important to note if you think you have any symptoms of measles that you call your GP rather than attend in person to help prevent any spread of the disease."

The WBOP PHO, Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance, Nga Mataapuna Oranga and the BOP DHB are "primed to offer free pop-up MMR vaccination clinics" in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty to ensure priority groups are vaccinated once more stocks are available.

"We understand the level of concern in the community about the measles outbreak, and we have vaccinations and venues at the ready," Back said.

"But until we have the vaccines we can't proceed. As soon as we can confirm we have vaccine stock available we will implement the pop-up clinics and let people know when, where and how they can access them."

Nationally, priorities for the MMR vaccine are all children, followed by the communities most affected, with only one dose of the MMR vaccine offered per person at this stage.

Medical professionals at the forefront of the measles outbreak earlier said there would be fatalities if the disease continued to spread.