We are anticipating that we will receive MMR vaccinations into the practice early this week. At this stage supply is still limited, so we will need to prioritise the roll out of catch-up and early vaccinations.
Please watch for a text alert to adults and caregivers about immunisation clinics that will start this week. It will be possible to book into these on-line. Please do not book into a clinic until you receive a text – it is vital we immunise our highest priority groups first, as they are most at risk of contracting measles.
If your mobile number has changed recently, alert reception.
For those of you notified on Thursday 7th March that your child may have been exposed to a confirmed measles case at their preschool, we can reassure you that the low supply of vaccine last week has not increased your child’s risk. We have been advised by those leading the Christchurch measles outbreak response that MMR is only effective at preventing measles in a non-immunised or single-MMR immunised individual, if given with 72 hours of exposure. As the last day of exposure to the confirmed case was 1st March, this was not a possible time-frame for any child when the notification went out on March 7th.
Please phone reception if you or your child has been exposed to a suspected or confirmed measles case AND
- The first exposure was less that 72 hours ago AND
- You/they have had zero or 1 MMR doses OR
- You are aged 29-50yrs and don’t have documentation that you have received 2 MMR doses in your lifetime.
If these criteria apply, you/your child will be offered same day MMR vaccination.
The first priority group we will text will be caregivers of children from 15 months to 13 years that our records show have never received a dose of MMR.
The second priority group is teenagers >13 yrs and adults under 50yrs of age (born after 1/1/69) who have never had an MMR vaccination. As the national immunisation register has existed for about 13 yrs, it is not possible for us to hold reliable data on teenagers and adults who have never had MMR vaccination. If you know your teenager has not been immunized for MMR, or as an adult know/strongly suspect you have never had an MMR vaccine, please contact us to arrange vaccination as soon as possible. It is not dangerous to have MMR if you have been previously vaccinated but cannot find evidence of this.
Once we have assurance of continuing MMR supply, we will text:
- caregivers of children aged 12-15mths. You may choose to bring them early for their first MMR (chickenpox vaccine will be offered at the same time to this group).
- Caregivers of children aged 16 mths – 5 yrs who have had one MMR dose. We can give a second dose anytime after 4 weeks from the first dose, if this is the choice of caregivers.
These 2 groups are not yet a public health directive for early MMR, but are likely to become so as MMR supplies increase in Christchurch, if the number of confirmed measles cases continues to grow.
Our final group to receive a text will be all our patients aged from 29-50 years. You are the group that only received one MMR dose on the NZ immunisation schedule (from 1969-1990). If you do not have documentation of 2 MMR vaccines, or a blood test result that confirms you have had measles, you will be eligible to attend for a free second MMR dose. As emphasised above, even if you got 2 doses but don’t have it documented, it will be safe for you to have another dose of MMR.
At this stage, MMR for babies under 12 months of age is only recommended for those travelling overseas to countries with measles outbreaks. For these babies 2 further doses of MMR at 15 months and 4 yrs will be required.
Please note that MMR is a “live attenuated” vaccination, so some people are unable to have it. The most common reason is being on a medication that suppresses your immune system. It is vital that we know all the medications you take and that you inform us if you have been told you/your child cannot receive a live vaccine.
If you believe you or your child was in close contact with a confirmed measles case at the time (or a few days before) they were sick, and you/they they have received zero or 1 MMR doses, and you/they have not received a second dose within 72 hours of exposure, the public health advice is to isolate your child from 7 days until 14 days after the first day of exposure. Isolation means staying at home and away from daycare/school/work, social activities, recreation activities and public places. Only fully immunized people should be in contact with an isolated person.