Dr Rawiri Jansen, says it’s essential to cut down the risk of another measles epidemic, especially in the time of COVID.
Health authorities are encouraging Māori and Pasifika aged from 15 to 29 to get the free measles vaccine because that was a generation that missed out getting the full course of immunisation in their childhood.
The 2019 measles outbreak infected more than 1500 people, sending 500 to hospital, and also spread to Samoa where it killed 72 people.
Dr Rawiri Jansen says if people have any doubt if they were vaccinated, there is no problem getting another shot.
He says measles is more infectious than COVID-19.
“You walk through the mall and you are exposing lots and lots of people. With COVID, we are sort of counting the minutes you need to be in a room with someone close. Measles is more contagious than that and the good news is we have the vaccines ready to go so anyone, Māori and Pacific, 15 to 29, go and get vaccinated, now,” Dr Jansen says.
For more information on the national campaign, visit the Ministry of Health website or talk to your local District Health Board. There are a range of campaign resources provided by Te Hiringa Hauora that are available on our website here.