Measles cases across the Southern District Health Board region continue to mount and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says she's worried that the issue isn't being treated seriously enough.
“I’m feeling uneasy that in the past few weeks, the Southern DHB has experienced increasing numbers of measles cases, while the national trend has been for cases to start falling away.
"Last week there were 19 new cases across the Southern region, almost as many as the 21 from all of the other regions outside of Auckland put together.
“There have been 30 cases in the Southern region in the past two weeks, and 35 cases in other regions outside of Auckland, with the Ministry of Health saying there have been cases reported on most days in the past two weeks, to October 10.
“This is starting to look serious. I don’t see any evidence that Julie Anne Genter, or the Ministry of Health, have a plan to address these numbers and I’m worried measles cases could get out of control across the Otago and Southland regions.
“There have been several cases in Queenstown, two people from Wanaka, a Dunedin student and another in Oamaru contracting the disease, so it’s widespread.
“My concern is that just like the three missed measles outbreaks at the beginning of the year, any action will be too little, too late because the Minister is not acting with urgency.
“Ms Genter needs to layout a credible plan to support areas outside of Auckland with growing measles cases, especially for the Northland and Southern DHB’s.
"This includes providing vaccines for everyone under 50, authorising pharmacists to administer the MMR vaccine, reinstating health targets and working harder to get more measles vaccines so New Zealanders can be protected.
“She’s claimed that 100,000 additional vaccines have now arrived in New Zealand, so there’s no reason not to ensure everyone under 50 is vaccinated.
"From January 2019, to 10 October 2019, there have been 1742 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand."