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NZ clinics to immunize Samoan children

December 4, 2019 6:32 pm
An unimmunised toddler has returned to Samoa, after being refused a measles vaccine in New Zealand.

New Zealand clinics are being told not to turn away any children in need of measles vaccination, regardless of whether they are New Zealand citizens.

The advice comes after a toddler was refused an MMR vaccine by an Auckland clinic because he had a Samoan passport.

On Tuesday, the unvaccinated 15-month-old flew back to Samoa, where 54 children under 15 have died since the measles outbreak started.

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The law says schedule vaccines should be given to children under 18 regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

A spokeswoman said an email had been sent to health providers including DHBs and public health units to confirm the eligibility criteria for publicly funded vaccinations.

In light of vaccine shortages in New Zealand, GPs have been asked to reserve vaccines for priority groups.

That includes people under 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines, Fiji or another country with an active measles outbreak.

However, those over the age of 18 who are not New Zealand residents or citizens are ineligible for the vaccine.

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