Five new measles cases in Queenstown

MMR vaccine will be distributed to practices in Queenstown and Central Otago areas. Photo: Getty...
MMR vaccine will be distributed to practices in Queenstown and Central Otago areas. Photo: Getty Images
Five new confirmed measles cases have been confirmed in Queenstown, bringing the total to 19.

The Southern District Health Board confirmed the cases on Tuesday evening.

The Ministry of Health and Pharmac have lifted the pause on measles vaccine orders and will be distributing the MMR vaccine to practices in Queenstown and Central Otago areas.

Southern DHB medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack said there was limited stock available and prioritisation was being discussed for vaccine distribution in the next week.

The board aimed to contain the Queenstown measles outbreak and stop it spreading into other areas.

Dr Jack asked everyone in the community to do their bit and protect people who could not be vaccinated due to age, allergies and/or medical conditions.

"If you are a contact with a confirmed case and asked to be in isolation then please follow those instructions. Or, if you suspect you might have measles, you need to isolate yourself until you know for sure.

"Don't go to the medical centre or emergency department, call ahead for advice or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.''

Dr Jack added that unvaccinated people needed to be aware that they could be contagious before they displayed symptoms, "if you are not vaccinated and have had contact with a measles case, you need to be isolated for 14 days''.

A drop-in vaccination clinic would operate in Queenstown on Wednesday at St John in Frankton, at 10 Doughlas St, from 1pm to 5pm.

The clinic was for MMR vaccines for anyone who was unvaccinated, or those older than four years old who had only had one vaccination.

Currently, the normal vaccination schedule of one MMR at 15 months and one MMR at four years should continue to be followed.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre has provided up to date information about measles immunity and the MMR vaccine on their website: https://www.immune.org.nz/hot-topic/measles-overseas-and-new-zealand

- Staff reporter