Thousands of measles vaccines arrive as Auckland outbreak tops 1100 cases

The latest batch of measles vaccines to arrive in the country is being checked at a warehouse before being distributed, as the number of cases in Auckland has today risen to 1108 this year, up 44 from yesterday.

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More vaccines have arrived in Auckland for distribution.

Nationally, there are now 1327 cases of the highly infectious disease. 

Fifty-two-thousand measles, mumps and rubella vaccines have arrived from Belgium, Auckland health officials said today. 

Auckland Regional Public Health Service said the batch is being checked at a storage warehouse before being sent out to regional suppliers and then to clinics in need. 

Dr William Rainger of the regional public health service said this supply is expected to last three months, with the next annual shipment of vaccines due to arrive in January 2020. 

However, Pharmac will continue to source more supplies from overseas if the outbreak develops, he said. 

Already 54,000 doses of the vaccine had been distributed this month. 

The current priority for vaccinations is children under five. 

Health officials are also monitoring where the infection is spreading geographically. 

Some clinics in Auckland are currently delaying vaccinations in adults as they prioritise the most vulnerable. 

Dr Rainger told 1 NEWS some emergency clinics have been closed down while the national vaccination strategy is assessed.

"We found some people who were over 50 years old arriving at the clinic for vaccinations, so right now we're really wanting to focus vaccinations towards children who are most vulnerable," he said. 

Auckland District Health Board is now working on targeted community outreach clinics which will be focused on where and with whom they can try to interrupt the transmission of measles. 

Over the past couple of weeks officials have predicted a "measles peak" to occur and Dr Rainger said this is yet to happen in Auckland.

"Incubation period is two weeks, and the time that it takes for the vaccine to be effective is two weeks. So we might see a two to four week lag. So we're still in that time period," he said.

Because the Auckland outbreak which started in February is still active, strategies and information could continue to change, Dr Rainger said.