'The situation is very serious' - Government launches coordinated response as Auckland measles outbreak hits 762

The Government has today launched a coordinated response to the measles outbreak in Auckland, in an attempt to ramp up the response to the outbreak.

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The cancellations come as the Government ramps up its response to the infectious disease. Source: 1 NEWS

The number of confirmed measles cases in the Auckland region is now at 762, up from 731 yesterday and 700 on Wednesday. 

Associate Minister Health Julie Anne Genter said despite an additional 57,000 vaccines administered in the last six months, "New Zealand has not escaped the outbreak of measles occurring globally" and the "situation is very serious".

The Ministry of Health has activated the National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC) "to coordinate the response to the outbreak in Auckland and monitor the situation in the rest of New Zealand". The NHCC is activated during significant events.

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Julie Anne Genter says everyone who isn't vaccinated needs to be. Source: 1 NEWS

The NHCC is set to work with Auckland district health boards and the regional public health service to "strengthen the response". 

It comes as Manurewa High School sent 300 students home earlier this week after 13 confirmed cases and banned unvaccinated students from coming in. In addition, the Ministry of Health advised unvaccinated people not to travel to Auckland and Plunket has been inundated with calls from worried parents.

"The additional five vaccinator nurses have been deployed to provide extra free services in Middlemore Hospital and other outreach centres in South Auckland," Ms Genter said. 

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In Auckland alone, another 28 cases have been confirmed in the past day. Source: 1 NEWS

On Wednesday, Ms Genter said support would be increased by employing more nurse vaccinators. 

"Immunisation is free, but we know it can be difficult for people to get to their general practice," Ms Genter said. 

"Nurse vaccinators might be rostered to appear in a range of locations like malls, schools and churches and at a range of times including weekends and evenings."

She said the DHB was working through the details. 

"The MMR vaccine is free for anyone under 50 who hasn't had two documented doses and is available nationwide from your general practice," Ms Genter said. 

“It is very, vitally important that people get their vaccinations.”