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Dangers Of Measles Highlighted At Booklet Launch

Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Minister of Health
9 August 2012 Media Statement
Dangers Of Measles Highlighted At Booklet Launch

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew launched two Ministry of Health measles-related publications at Starship Hospital today, and highlighted the impact of last year’s measles outbreaks on children with cancer.

“Measles has a 50 per cent death rate for New Zealand children with low immunity and an outbreak can severely restrict the way these children and their families go about their daily lives,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“It’s not widely known that children with cancer have little or no immunity to measles. And the only thing that we can do for them as a society is to make sure that as many healthy children as possible are immunised to stop the disease circulating in our communities.

“As these booklets show, measles can also make previously healthy children very unwell and carries a high risk of complications.”

The publication Protecting Children with Cancer from Measles includes interviews with parents of children with cancer and teenager Leroy Beckett, who talk about the effect of the measles outbreak on their lives. Paediatric oncologists Scott Macfarlane from Starship Hospital and Rob Corbett from Christchurch Hospital also share their experiences of the disease.

The second publication Immunisation – Making a Choice For Your Child features stories about young people who had measles during the 2011 outbreaks. All of the young people interviewed became seriously unwell with measles. Some had not been vaccinated, for a variety of reasons, while another was vaccinated overseas but the vaccine was not effective. After their recent experiences, all of the young people and their parents are now enthusiastic supporters of immunisation.

To read the publications, and see video interviews with some of the people featured in them, visit


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