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MMR vaccine for chemists

There is no indication when Wairarapa pharmacies will stock the MMR [measles mumps and rubella] vaccine. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

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Wairarapa pharmacies are keen to provide measles vaccines to people over the age of 16 after previously not being allowed to.

However, national restrictions, and the setting up of contracts mean pharmacies won’t be providing the vaccines immediately.

The government has announced that 450 pharmacies nationwide would be able to give MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] jabs.

Wairarapa District Health Board spokeswoman Anna Cardno said pharmacists offering MMR vaccines would improve access for the community as well as taking pressure off medical centres.

The pharmacies with vaccinating pharmacists are Masterton Medical Pharmacy, Southend Pharmacy, Duncans Pharmacy, Queen Street Pharmacy, and Carterton Pharmacy.

“However, pharmacists can only vaccinate people 16 years of age and older,” Cardno said.

“At present, there are restrictions on vaccine supply, with the priority group being those under 16 years of age

“While the restrictions are in place, our pharmacists will not be able to offer MMR vaccination until we have sufficient vaccines within New Zealand to supply them.”

She said there was no indication as to when the vaccine would reach Wairarapa pharamacies.

Unichem Southend Pharmacy were “definitely” going to stock the vaccines when they become available, pharmacist manager, Val Fleet said.

“We do a lot of vaccinations here so it’s a given that we should stock that one as well because people like to come in and get the vaccines straight away.

“As far as pharmacies are concerned, I think we’re a big part of getting [wider] immunity with these vaccines and it’s great that they decided that yes it can be done in pharmacies. It’s a no-brainer that it’s an absolute
good thing.”

Carterton Pharmacy has been giving flu shots for the past two years and pharmacist Michael Stewart said they’d be offering the funded MMR vaccine when it was available.

“It’s a good step for pharmacies, we’ve already started doing the flu vaccines and that works really well because it increases access.

“It keeps us more involved with the communities we’re working in as well and takes away from GP pressure.”

There have been more than 2000 confirmed cases of measles around the country this year, with about 1600 as part of an outbreak in Auckland alone.

So far, Wairarapa has only had one confirmed case of measles.

There are 864 pharmacists around the country who are allowed to provide vaccinations for the flu, shingles, whooping cough and meningitis, but rules meant they weren’t funded to provide the MMR vaccine.

“We’re seeing some encouraging progress around new case numbers, but the work of pharmacist vaccinators is an added tool in the fight,” Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said.

There are about 450 pharmacies around the country that will be able to provide the service, and Genter said they were a convenient and trusted way to get vaccines to the public.

This year’s measles outbreak has been the biggest since 1997.

— with NZME


  1. We need to stop this ambulance at the bottom of the cliff attitude. Allow pharmacies to vaccinate now and get more people protected quicker!

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