More people in the Whanganui region will be able to be immunised against measles after the Ministry of Health secured an additional 100,000 doses of measles vaccine.

General practices have been focusing on maintaining the national immunisation schedule, concentrating on 15-month-old and 4-year-old children amidst a national measles outbreak. However, not everyone who wants to be immunised has been able to access the vaccine.

Sue Hina, Whanganui Regional Health Network immunisation co-ordinator, said a number of people who previously declined the immunisation have had a change of heart, putting stress on vaccine stock numbers.

With a mismatch of demand and availability of vaccine nationwide, Hina said they had been managing as best they can but the additional stocks now available would make a difference.


"We should be receiving the first lot this coming week which will free up how much is available in the [medical] practices."

She said practices now had an allocation of how much of the vaccine they could order.

"This allocation hasn't been particularly high but enough to cover 15-month-olds and 4-year-olds, which is why some people in town may be finding it's difficult to get a vaccine at the moment if they're outside of those groups."

Whanganui general practices will receive a much higher allocation over the next two weeks and then revert to a smaller amount.

Whanganui medical officer of health Dr Patrick O'Connor said priorities for measles vaccinations are in other parts of the country, with the majority of cases being in Auckland.

He said there have been no confirmed cases of measles in the Whanganui region; however, seven cases have been confirmed in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and the MidCentral DHB area.

"It only comes across with people and movement of people really that brings the virus around and of course that's always a possibility but there is certainly a lot of awareness around it and we're still getting people tested."

Anyone who has turned up to the after-hours emergency department with a fever and a rash has been tested for measles, O'Connor said.


"But there are a lot of other reasons why you get a fever and a rash so everyone that has been tested so far this year around here has proven to be negative for measles."

O'Connor said the number of cases of measles nationally has been reducing in the last four weeks.

More than 1400 cases of measles have been confirmed in Auckland.

Whanganui medical officer of health Dr Patrick O'Connor has confirmed there are no cases of measles in the Whanganui region. Photo / File
Whanganui medical officer of health Dr Patrick O'Connor has confirmed there are no cases of measles in the Whanganui region. Photo / File

Hina said the risk of getting measles in Whanganui is pretty low compared to the national level but it was a good time to see that immunisation works. She recommended that people consider all vaccines, as well as the MMR vaccine.

"This is one of the problems. If you wait till there's an outbreak then you potentially are trying to access a vaccine where everyone else is trying to do it as well."

Statistics are yet to be released for the national immunisation coverage from July to September.

The statistics from July to September this year show more than 85 per cent of all 2-year-olds and 5-year-olds in the Whanganui region are vaccinated against measles.

Hina said she hoped the statistics would have lifted from last year.

"I'm surprised by the statistics but I know of more people that are getting the vaccine outside of that measured group."

She said it is reassuring the region does not have any measles cases but there is still worry about the potential of people catching the virus, with social media posts about measles contributing to people's concerns.

A number of older children, who have never been immunised for various reasons, are now on her list to be vaccinated because parents were concerned about their children interacting with others in districts where cases have been confirmed.