In an unprecedented step, Queensland has sourced a huge order of more than 80,000 doses of the measles vaccine as part of the Government’s latest efforts to protect adults against the deadly disease.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles today helped staff at Queen Street Medical Centre stock their fridge with their share of the $1.03 million order of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Seventy-four people were diagnosed with measles in 2019, including 66 in south-east Queensland. It was the state’s worst year for measles since 1997.
“We’ve just emerged from our worst year for measles since 1997 and there are still cases being recorded,” Mr Miles said.
“To protect Queenslanders, the Chief Health Officer has looked across the globe to source as many vaccines as possible.
“We now have a stockpile of vaccines to protect Queenslanders.
Mr Miles said while Queensland Health had sufficient supplies of MMR vaccines for children, the additional order would ensure there were enough vaccines for adults who had not previously had the recommended two shots.
“People of all ages have been affected during the current outbreak in Queensland, however most of the patients have been adults.
“That’s why we’ve ordered extra shots to ensure our hospitals and GP clinics across the state are well stocked to fight this preventable disease.
“The additional vaccine we’re receiving today is designed for adults who have either never been immunised against measles before or who have not had their second shot. People need two doses to be protected.
“People born between 1966 and 1998 may not have received two doses and may require an additional dose of MMR vaccine.”
Several Queensland cases were connected to the measles crisis in New Zealand and Samoa.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young ordered the additional stock to ensure people who needed to update their measles immunisation status could do so.
“We recommend anyone born in or after 1966 who has not had two documented doses of the MMR vaccine, or who has not had measles, to visit their GP to get immunised.
“The vaccine is free for anyone who requires it. Of all infections in Queensland in 2019, 50 per cent were among people aged between 20 and 39 years old. Twenty-two cases were overseas-acquired.”
Dr Young said Queensland Health had sufficient supplies of the MMR vaccine for children. Parents are also urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations that are scheduled at 12 and 18 months of age.
This year one person has been diagnosed with measles so far.
For more information about the measles outbreak in Queensland, visit: www.health.qld.gov.au.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles