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The Ministry of Health should allow pharmacists to administer MMR vaccines to curtail the effects of the current measles outbreak, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Up to a quarter of pharmacists in my local region of Northland are vaccination-qualified and in times of a serious outbreak such as this, we should be making use of that resource.

“Vaccination-qualified pharmacists are currently able to vaccinate for flu injections but are not reimbursed for vaccines such as the measles vaccine.

“This Government has already got in the way of higher immunisation rates by scrapping health targets – we shouldn’t let its reimbursement policy get in the way of vaccinating children.

“DHBs have portable cold chain storage containers available for pharmacies that need more space to keep vaccines at the right temperature. There’s no reason not to allow pharmacists to administer measles vaccinations.

“Pharmacists are accessible for people who may be transient, not registered with a GP or otherwise face difficulties in accessing healthcare and we know that these people are the least likely to be vaccinated.

“It’s important that the Government mobilises every available option to bring this outbreak to an end, because right now, it’s only getting worse.”

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