Health advisers urge parents to immunise

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014

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While Taranaki remains measles free about 30 cases have been reported nationwide since December.

Many of these were attributed to an outbreak originating in the Philippines, arriving in New Zealand via a hip-hop dance competition in Sydney.

The outbreak has prompted renewed calls from health professionals about the importance of immunisation.

In Taranaki 90 per cent of babies were immunised at eight months old. However, the rates dropped to 85 per cent at 18 months and improved to 93 per cent at two years old, Taranaki DHB chief medical adviser Dr Greg Simmons said.

"Two MMR immunisations are required to ensure full coverage for measles, mumps and rubella so it is important that children receive both."

MMR is a safe and effective vaccine. There is no scientific evidence to the contrary, Dr Simmons said.

"There is now a long history and mountains of sound, scientific data that shows a clear correlation between high immunisation rates and lowered incidence of disease."

Delays in delivering immunisations creates opportunity for an outbreak of the disease.

The vaccine that protects against measles (MMR) is on the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule at 15 months and 4 years of age.

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