Protect Te Moana a Toi against Measles
12 March 2021
A powhiri marked the start of the measles vaccination campaign at Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s Tauranga campus today. Next week tauira (students) will be able to get their free vaccinations on site from Te Pare ō Toi kaupapa Māori community nurses.
“We have organised these clinics at our wānanga and are supporting pop-up stands at events across the Bay of Plenty as part of the National Campaign to reach those aged 15-30 years who may have missed getting their childhood MMR jabs. There will also be a van on the road to allow mobility into rural communities,” explains Manukura at Te Pare ō Toi, Marama Tauranga. “We are also working opportunistic immunisation into our mahi at our own hospital campuses,” she said.
This weekend Ngāti Ranginui’s Mauri Ora will be giving out information about measles and making appointments at the Tauranga Moana, Tauranga Tāngata festival at Hangarau Marae in Bethlehem.
“Measles is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading the dangerous virus,” says Tauranga.
BOPDHB Regional Manager for Community Health 4 Kids, Martin Steinmann said nearly 70% of people affected in the 2019 Spring Measles Outbreak were aged between 15 and 30 years. Overall, 40% of measles cases were Māori, followed by an over representation of Pasifika.
“We’re encouraging those in this age group to check with their parents if they have had two doses of the measles immunisation (MMR) vaccine as a child. This protects them against three serious diseases: measles, mumps and rubella,” Martin explains. "The Ministry of Health is advising that if you don't know, it's best to get immunised. It's free and it's safe to have an extra dose of the MMR vaccine, even if you have had it at a younger age."
People between 15 and 30 years who either haven’t been immunised or who aren’t sure are encouraged to get a free vaccination as soon as possible by visiting a pop-up around the rohe. Appointments can also be made with your doctor or you can call into a participating community pharmacy. Measles campaign flags outside community pharmacies indicate the pharmacies are available to provide a “walk-in service”, so no appointment necessary.
“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immune. Measles can be serious with around one in ten people who get measles needing to be hospitalised.”
Toi Te Ora Medical Officer of Health Dr Jim Miller said the MMR vaccine provides very effective protection against measles and is completely free for anyone who needs it.
“If you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one. After one dose of MMR vaccine about 95% of people are protected from measles, and this increases to 99% for those who have had both doses,” said Dr Miller.