The major measles contact tracing effort at Albany Senior High School, of approximately 900 students and 100 staff, continues to progress well, with further immunity testing of staff happening at pace. No new cases have been confirmed to date.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service is continuing to work closely to support the school and the community. We are working as quickly as possible to test staff who may not be immune and to complete contact tracing for students and staff, with a focus on supporting the school to reopen safely as soon as is possible.
A pop-up testing centre was set-up in Massey this morning to carry out testing of staff who do not have records of immunity. These samples are being prioritised for processing by laboratories, to speed up public health immunity checks and ensure staff can be cleared to leave quarantine if it is safe to do so.
Confirming staff immunity takes time and will continue over the weekend. Albany Senior High School will keep parents updated on whether the school opens on Monday for in-person learning or continues online.
Because measles is such a serious and highly infectious virus, all vaccination records have to be verified and blood tests processed before deciding who is immune, for those born after the 1st of Jan 1969. Students and staff who do not have evidence of vaccination or immunity to measles will need to stay at home in quarantine over the weekend or until public health staff contact them and confirm they can leave.
“We appreciate the patience of everyone in the Albany Senior High School community” says Dr William Rainger, Interim Clinical Director at National Public Health Service. “Public health is working to assess individual immunity as quickly as possible, however this is a significant undertaking.”
No new cases from the school or the wider community have been identified so far. This means there are currently still two confirmed cases – a student at the school and a household contact who recently travelled overseas.
Measles vaccination urged
We are continuing to strongly encourage everyone who is elibile for two doses of the MMR vaccine to get themselves and any eligible children immunised.
The MMR vaccine is offered to tamariki on the schedule at 12 months and 15 months.
For those who missed out on their MMR immunisations, it’s free for everyone under 18 years old – it does not matter what your visa or citizenship status is. This includes visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand.
For people over 18 years old, the MMR vaccine is free if you’re a resident, or eligible for free healthcare in New Zealand. Adults born before 1969 are not able to have an MMR vaccine.
Contact your usual doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider to book an appointment. People over 3 years old can get an MMR vaccine at lots of pharmacies. You can search for one near you on Healthpoint: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/immunisation/?serviceSubtype=im%3Ac3be1faa-0643-4647-b761-10b197f603ee&accessOptions=anyone