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Telephone Campaign To Support MMR Immunisation Catch-up For 3-5 Year Olds

Waikato DHB has started a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination telephone campaign for parents of 3-5 year olds who are now overdue for their second MMR vaccination, identifying these children through the National Immunisation Register.

The MMR immunisation schedule changed in 2020 with the second dose, which was previously due at 4 years now due at 15 months, leading to a group of children who need to catch-up with their second vaccination.

Immunisation records for the Waikato show that there are about 6,500 children aged 3-5 who are due their second MMR and about 1,400 children aged 3-5 who have missed both MMR vaccinations.

Two-thirds of those who have missed both MMR doses are on record as having declined the vaccination.

“Our borders being closed for two years protected us from measles but now they’ve re-opened we will be exposed to measles again,” says Dr Felicity Dumble, Waikato DHB Medical Officer of Health.

All cases of measles seen in New Zealand are the result of non-immune people bringing the virus into the country from overseas. The 2019 measles outbreak infected more than 2,000 people, and 700 had to go to hospital, with Māori and Pacific communities the most affected.

“We need vaccination rates of 95% to reach ‘community immunity’ sometimes known as ‘herd immunity’ to help prevent outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella.

“Disease outbreaks can have serious consequences for families and communities. Those who are not immunised, whether that’s by choice or other circumstances, are worst affected by these outbreaks.”

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Complications from measles can include ear infections that cause hearing loss, pneumonia, and encephalitis, which can cause brain damage. Mumps can also cause serious complications such as deafness and meningitis. Rubella is usually a mild infection that gets better within about 7–10 days, but for pregnant woman is a serious concern if caught during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy as it can affect the baby’s development.

The phone campaign gives parents information about where their children can be vaccinated. Many parents will choose to contact their GP or kaupapa Māori health provider to make a vaccination enquiry or a booking.

Alternatively there will be mobile community vaccination clinics and they can simply drop into these sites without a booking as the clinical vaccinators can check on their children’s immunisation status from the clinics.

People who aren’t sure whether they are up-to-date with all their scheduled immunisations can check with their GP or in their Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book, says Dr Dumble.

For more information call 0800 220 250 or visit

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