An apple a day keeps the doctor away

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30/26-30 Constable Road, Waiuku

Latest update on MMR vaccine

We have received the following statement from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, updating us on the availability of the MMR vaccine and what groups are currently a priority for immunisation with the limited supply currently available.

We recognise that this is a stressful time for patients and parents, and have very much appreciated your patience and respect for practice staff over this time.

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The following media release was issued jointly by the three Auckland metropolitan DHBs (Waitematā, Counties Manukau and Auckland) on Friday, 20 September 2019.

The measles outbreak has led to unprecedented demand for the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

While it is good news that so many people living in Auckland have been vaccinated in recent weeks, we now need to carefully manage the current supply of MMR across the region. This includes our share of the 52,000 doses that recently arrived in New Zealand.

For this reason the three District Health Boards (Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau) are working with Auckland’s Primary Health Organisations to ensure the vaccine we have gets to where it is most needed.

We have informed Auckland general practices that most of our current vaccine must be used to give babies and children their scheduled 12 month and four year MMR vaccinations.

Children are most seriously affected by measles and our first priority is to protect them.

General Practitioners (GPs) can also use their clinical judgement to provide vaccine to people aged 5-29 who are more vulnerable in this outbreak. In the current outbreak, measles is spreading among young Pacific and Māori people and high numbers of these groups have needed hospital care.

These groups are a priority for GPs to consider vaccinating based on their clinical judgement. GPs can also use their clinical judgement to vaccinate babies aged six months to 12 months.

People aged 30-50 are currently not a priority for vaccination. However, clinical judgement may be needed on a case-by-case basis. Once we have more vaccine in stock we will be able to provide vaccinations for those 30-50 years who want to be vaccinated.

We know that having to wait for an MMR vaccination may cause concern. However we want to reassure people that the Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have advised us that an additional 100,000 doses of vaccine have been secured for New Zealand. We expect this vaccine to arrive in the next few months.

It is very difficult for any doctor or nurse to ask a patient to wait for a vaccination, but it is essential we work together to manage our supplies very carefully – so that we have MMR available for babies and young children.

We thank the public for their patience and ask them to understand that their general practice is doing all that they can to protect the most vulnerable in our community.

Temporary priorities for MMR vaccine in Auckland

General practices have been asked to keep most of their vaccine for children aged under five years at the moment.
GPs may also vaccinate some people aged under 30 who have not had any MMR vaccinations, based on their clinical judgement.

In this outbreak Pacific and Māori people are more seriously affected by measles than other groups and are a priority for vaccination.

Measles cases in Auckland as at 2 pm, 23 September 2019:

As of today, the total number of confirmed measles cases in Auckland is 1180. Of this total, 870 of the cases are in the Counties Manukau Health area, with Waitematā and Auckland DHBs having 192 and 181 cases respectively.

Measles Outbreak Information

Media release – 11 September 2019

Measles Outbreak Information Sheet

Following advice from an immunisation Expert Advisory Group and feedback from general practices, the Ministry of Health is asking general practices and PHOs to target measles vaccinations to the most vulnerable.
“There’s been a huge public response to the current measles situation, and this has meant an unprecedented demand for vaccinations from the wider population,” says Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

“General practices have responded extremely well to this demand but have reported that in some places, vaccines aren’t reaching those most in need of protection, including children aged 15 months (12 months in Auckland).
“There have been 160,000 vaccines given so far in 2019, this compares to 90,000 vaccines given during the same period in 2018.

“Children aged two years and under are more likely to be hospitalised because of measles so it’s imperative they’re vaccinated,” says Dr Bloomfield. “First and foremost we need to protect our children.”

The advice comes off the back of an immunisation Expert Advisory Group recommendation to focus on ensuring the groups most affected by the current measles outbreak can be vaccinated to protect them and the wider community and help prevent further spread of measles.

This means the first priority for vaccinations should be on:
• ensuring all children across NZ receive their vaccines on time at 15 months (12 months of age in Auckland) and 4 years to maintain the national childhood immunisation schedule.
• vaccinating groups who are most affected by the outbreak in the Auckland area, namely children under 4 years of age, those aged 15-29 years and Pacific peoples within these groups.
• proactively contacting children aged up to 14 years who have not had a single dose of vaccine to get vaccinated.

The priority groups for vaccination are being reviewed regularly based first on priority children then on who it is most important to target in local cases.

A shipment of 52,000 vaccines is due in New Zealand this weekend and will be distributed where needed from next week.

The Ministry of Health has provided advice for parents in the Measles section. Measles Outbreak Information Sheet

Cold and Flu season

With cold and flu season upon us it is worth remembering that unfortunately no amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold or flu.

Taking unnecessary antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance which is now a big problem world-wide. Hospital doctors are facing patients with “super bugs” which are very difficult to treat.

There is some very good information on the Ministry of Health’s website about how antibiotics work and how antibiotic resistance develops: Please see here: https://www.health.govt.nz/…/medicati…/antibiotic-resistance

Diabetes

It’s amazing how inter-related health conditions can be, and how having one can make another worse.

Last week we talked about High Blood Pressure and how it increases the risk of both heart attacks and strokes. But did you know that having Diabetes can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke?

Diabetes is an illness where you have too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. This can either happen quite suddenly in the case of Type 1 Diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children or adolescents, or Type 2 Diabetes which occurs gradually over time and is often associated with being overweight.

Some of the symptoms for Diabetes include:

* Frequent urination (peeing)
* Excessive thirst and hunger
* Fatigue
* Irritability
* Blurred vision
* Slow-healing wounds

If you think you may have diabetes please make sure to make an appointment to see your GP. Ph 09 2359102