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The number of measles cases in South Auckland continues to increase rapidly and the Government’s showing no urgency in dealing with the problem, National’s Associate Pacific Peoples spokesperson Agnes Loheni says.

“Pacific people have the highest rates of hospitalisation due to measles. The number of Pacific people contracting measles has risen at an alarming rate, with Pacific people making up more than half of this year’s measles cases in Counties Manukau: 285 of 432 cases.

“Children under the age of 15 have been especially hard hit.

“National established health targets which included immunisation and protected our most vulnerable.

“But David Clark scrapped them. Now that there are no targets, we have no way of ensuring our children are protected against serious diseases like measles.

“Much of the Pacific community in South Auckland faces material deprivation, housing issues, and issues relating to healthcare access.

“The Government’s suggestion of rostering nurses in South Auckland shopping centres, schools and churches to vaccinate for measles is too little, too late. It’s failing some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable communities.

“Dr Clark needs to show some leadership and address the issue because it’s only getting worse.

“Measles is a highly infectious disease but is easily preventable through immunisation. It’s clear from how quickly measles have spread that much more needs to be done by the Minister of Health to ensure children are receiving their immunisations on time.”  

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