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Pharmac may have to compete for measles vaccine

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Pharmac is looking at whether it can order more measles vaccine in case the latest batch runs out before January when the next lot is due to arrive.

Auckland's senior medical officer of health William Rainger says the serious outbreak in Auckland was continuing to rise, with 1108 cases confirmed this year.

About 52,000 doses had arrived in the country and were being quality tested before being distributed to clinics on Thursday, Dr Grainger says.

Some GP clinics had run out of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and the city's district health boards had been moving doses around to where they were needed most.

The next drop of vaccine was not expected until January and Pharmac would have to compete with other countries for any additional supplies, he says.

The Auckland Regional Public health service would continue its new, more targeted approach, he says.

"We'll have to monitor vaccine supply and uptake...daily and weekly and use the intelligence that we have, the information about the disease, to make the best use of it."

The priority was to continue the normal vaccine schedule for under fives, particularly because they were the group most at risk from the disease.

The second priority will be to use the vaccine in the areas where the disease was most likely to spread to try to stamp it out, Dr Grainger says.

The rate of spread was about the same as it had been for several weeks but health officials hoped it would soon begin to level off as the effect of extra vaccination took place.

-RNZ.

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