The Minister should make the MMR vaccine available to early childhood teachers so that our most vulnerable children are protected from the risks of measles, National’s Early Childhood Education spokesperson Nicola Willis says.
“Children under five are the priority for receiving the measles vaccine across the country because they’re the most vulnerable to the risks of the disease.
“Many ECE teachers will belong to the cohort of adults who are significantly less likely to have received an MMR booster when they were children, because these weren’t introduced until the 1990s.
“Measles combines being both serious and being highly infectious. Some young children who may be immuno-compromised and attending early childhood facilities could be put at risk if their teachers aren’t protected.
“There’s no sense in vaccinating only under-fives and not the adults who come into contact with young children every day.
“Julie Anne Genter hasn’t acted fast enough on measles and has been dismissive of the both the scale of the outbreaks and the scale of the vaccine shortage.
“But vaccinating early childhood teachers would provide even more safeguards for the hundreds of thousands of under-fives who attend early childhood facilities every day.
“This Government also scrapped health targets which, under National, resulted in improved vaccination rates that safeguarded Kiwis’ health.
“Now there’s an opportunity to do the right thing and ensure that the health of the most susceptible Kiwi kids doesn’t continue to be put at risk.”