Health Department aims to vaccinate all residents on the island

The Health Department will continue to roll out their public measles vaccination program aiming to vaccinate all residents on the island. 

Those that have not been immunized or have incomplete vaccination are advised to visit the hospital to receive treatment. 

To date since their program started, more than 300 front line staff including medical staff have received booster shots. 

Currently there are no confirmed cases of measles on the island according to Gaylene Tasmania the Director General Social Services 

“ There’s none as we know and as if you’ve seen also on the news we have staff, we have started our airport surveillance activities so as of last Friday and again today so every plane as of further notice we will have health staff up at the airport and it’s not just about filling out a form, it’s about observing people who come off and so people may not be honest enough to tick they have symptoms but just by having a presence up there and observing people we can also raise people of interest for us to put on our watch list for the next few weeks but its all in an effort to make sure measles is not introduced although we have had it in the past.”   said Tasmania

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The last measles outbreak in Niue was in 1994 with about 20 cases and the highest number of cases recorded of the measles outbreak in Niue was in 1991 with more than 120 cases reported. 

“So there are pockets of people in the population that we don’t have enough information on. What we do know is that when you carry out herd immunization means that everyone gets covered. It’s much harder for the disease to spread and because we cannot immunize everyone, there are some people in the population we cannot immunize especially children under the age of 12 months in order to protect those children we’ve got to make sure that everyone else is immunized.”

Awareness videos on measles are currently being broadcasted on TV Niue and messages on radio sunshine as part of the health departments awareness campaign. 

“ Over the weekend we issued our second health notice and that’s just to let people know of our efforts in terms of our trying to prevent the introduction and spread of measles to Niue. We have another thousand douses of measles rubella vaccine that we’re expecting from UNICEF and hopefully it comes on this plane. Basically our goal as directed from our Minister we had a meeting prior to this campaign and we decided to try and go for a full immunization of the population and so that’s our main goal. We’ve been working with WHO as well as UNICEF to ensure that’s safe to do for the population and that’s why we have those backing and we’re just going to keep going that way and try and cover everyone as much as we can.”  said Tasmania

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