The Health department aims to immunize all residents of Niue in light of the measles outbreak in Auckland, Samoa and Tonga.
Director General for Social Services Gaylene Tasmania states the health department will endeavor to do so as vaccine stocks arrive.
As part of efforts to protect the local population from this contagious disease, Tasmania says they are seeking help from the general public.
1. If you have children under your care who are under the age of 5, please check their immunization records to see whether they have been fully immunised with the Measles Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccine. If in doubt, please visit the Hospital.
2. All children aged between 12 months and 4 years should be fully immunised against measles to ensure full protection. This includes older children who have come from overseas and are in your care, but you are not aware of their immunisation history. If you are unsure of whether your child has been immunised, please contact the Hospital.
3. If you are a mother of an infant who is less than 12 months of age, please continue to breast-feed your baby because some level of immunity or protection passes from you to your child.
4. If you are planning on travelling to NZ or any of the Pacific Islands, please contact the Hospital at least 2 weeks before the date of travel to get a ‘booster shot’. A booster is provided to people who have already got some level of immunity.
5. If you have family who are planning to visit Niue from NZ (or elsewhere) during the Festive Season, please inform them to go and get immunised at least 2 weeks before they travel to Niue. The hospital is not in a position to provide immunisation to families visiting from overseas, as their vaccines stock is for local residents only.
6. It is important that immunisation is carried out 2 weeks prior to any travel, as the virus can infect a person but no visible symptoms are seen in the first 2 weeks of infection. In this time, the infection may have spread to others, especially those who are not immunised.
7. If you have recently returned from NZ, Samoa or Tonga, and you feel unwell, please visit the Hospital and seek medical advice asap. Do not wait.
8. The Public Health team will continue to carry out a systematic vaccination programme for border control officials, health workers, education workers, business owners and accommodation providers in the next few weeks and will continue as vaccine stocks are replenished.
9. There are a couple of other infections that have been recently noted by the Health Dept. particularly among young children. Chickenpox and Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease have been spreading and parents are advised to keep their children at home if they are not well and to visit the Hospital for treatment and a medical clearance before allowing your child(ren) to attend school.
The public is being advised to be on alert and to help stop the spread of all infectious diseases through proper hygiene.These infections spread by contact, and through droplets from coughing and sneezing. Please continue to wash your hands, cover your mouth (when coughing), and keep food and other surfaces clean.