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Health ministry urges Cook Islands parents to get their babies vaccinated against measles

Thursday 25 May 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, National


Health ministry urges Cook Islands parents to get their babies vaccinated against measles
Getting an MMR booster injection from the Ministry of Health this week. 20012208 / 20012209

Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health says approximately 150 babies are due for their 12- and 15-months vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).

The health ministry is calling on parents of these babies and any adult who has not received their measles vaccine to contact the Health Intelligence Unit (HIU) on phone 29664 for advice on how to get their vaccination.

Their advice comes after the recent active cases of measles in countries like New Zealand, Hawaii and American Samoa.

However as of May 23, there have been no new cases of measles reported by the Department of Health in Hawaii, their second case was reported on April 24, 2023. The red alert in Hawaii has been removed. New Zealand has also not recorded any new cases for the past three weeks and the red alert for measles has been removed.

As a precautionary measure, TMO director planning and funding, Roana Mataitini says health staff are currently following up on approximately 150 babies who are due for their MMR 1 (12 months) or MMR 2 (15 months).

Mataitini says overseas workers’ children will also be included for follow up.

Parents with children under the age of 11 years that haven’t received the measles vaccine are urged to contact the Health Intelligence Unit (HIU). 

For adults who have missed out on the measles vaccination, and are willing to get vaccinated, can also call HIU for further advice.

Mataitini said they do not have any records of adults without measles vaccination.

She also confirmed there had been no case of measles in the Cook Islands in the past 26 years with the last outbreak recorded in 1996.

Mataitini advised that when TMO nurses call for your immunisation, “please attend to the scheduled appointment times issued by the Public Health Nurses”. 

“If you have changed residential addresses, please inform your Health Clinic so that staff can make necessary referrals to the next appropriate clinic.

“If you move permanently overseas, let the public nurses know so they can update their records.

“If you are going for a holiday, reschedule your appointments to when you return.

“Immunisation prevents our children from harmful diseases and saves lives.”