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Measles, Mumps And Rubella Campaign Starting To Show Results

Waikato DHB’s direct campaign to get 3-5 year-olds measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinated is starting to show results. Caregivers are given information about where their children can be vaccinated, and so far nearly 350 children aged 3-5 have had an MMR vaccination in the first three weeks of the campaign.

Of this number 173 doses have been administered to children aged 3-5 whose caregivers received a call, email or e-text from the DHB and it is hoped that others who were contacted directly will be intending to book a vaccination during the next few weeks. The campaign is focussing on 3-5 year olds who have missed their second MMR dose due to a change in the immunisation schedule. From October 2020 the MMR vaccine switched from being given at 15 months and 4 years, to 12 months and 15 months for the two doses needed to give the best protection.

Immunisation rates have gone down during the pandemic in part due to parents not able to get their children immunised because of lockdowns or isolations. As a result many children aged 15 months and older didn’t get their second dose.

Furthermore, many of their parents won’t know of the schedule change as they have the MMR second dose still listed as due at 4 years in their Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book. Parents of children born since October 2020 have the correct immunisation schedules.

The campaign is targeting 3-5 year-olds first as children over 3 years can be vaccinated at the DHB’s mobile vaccination clinics making it easier for parents to pop into a clinic closer to home. It also takes pressure off primary care services as children under 3 years need to be vaccinated by a nurse who is also a childhood immuniser.

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Immunisation records for the Waikato DHB area show that there are about 6,500 children aged 3-5 who have missed their second MMR and about 1,400 children aged 3-5 who have missed both MMR vaccinations. Records for two-thirds of those who have missed both MMR doses show that care-givers have declined the vaccination, approximately 900 children. More than 9,700 3-5-year-olds are fully-vaccinated for MMR.

In the same three-week period 538 children aged 0-2 also received an MMR vaccination, in keeping with the national immunisation schedule offering MMR doses at 12 months and 15 months. The latest immunisation report from the Ministry of Health (MoH) has fully immunised MMR at 24 months as 85% overall, but only 58% for Māori and 69% Pacific.

“The equity gap for Māori and Pacific people is a worry because if there is an outbreak of measles, mumps or rubella they will be more impacted,” says Riki Nia Nia, Waikato DHB Executive Director, Māori, Equity and Health Improvement Waikato. “Many Māori whānau don’t have access to primary care with a lower rate of Māori babies enrolled at a GP practice so making it more difficult to access immunisation.”

The DHB is increasing the mobile community vaccination clinics it’s running throughout the Waikato in order to reach more Māori and Pacific people, including those living in rural areas. The clinics offer free flu vaccinations for those eligible, free MMR for 3-plus, as well as COVID-19 5-plus vaccinations. People can simply drop into these sites without a booking as the clinical vaccinators can check on their children’s immunisation status from the clinics.

The DHB is working alongside Kaupapa Māori Health Providers to also run clinics at sports and cultural events such as Matariki where it will be at events in Hamilton, Huntly, Tokoroa, Raglan, Te Kuiti, Thames and Taumarunui throughout June and July.

Its immunisation campaign is also reaching into those areas and demographics where flu, COVID-19, MMR and childhood immunisation rates are lowest using the ‘local faces’ of individuals and whānau well-known in each area. People are asked to contact their GP, Māori or Pacific health provider, or local pharmacy to check on their children’s immunisation status.

At the same time the MoH is now developing a national communications campaign to support MMR uptake by implementing targeted messaging to whānau to promote vaccination of under-5 year olds. There is also an ongoing campaign to get teenagers and young adults fully immunised against measles as many 15-30 year-olds, born after 1 January 1969, have missed one or both recommended doses of MMR vaccine. It is safe have one or both doses of the free MMR vaccine if you can’t find out if you’ve been fully immunised.

For weekly information about all the vaccination clinics across the Waikato go to:

For more information call 0800 220 250 or visit

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