New Zealand has announced that it will loosen restrictions on the immunization of international travelers and will allow their children to be immunized against diphtheria, whooping cough, polio and haemophilus influenzae type b against one dose for eight years starting in 2022.
The rule change will affect people who have previously entered the country from India and Pakistan.
The country of 4.4 million people which has the world’s longest border with neighboring New Zealand’s southern neighbor the Tonga is also one of the most able nations to respond quickly to such outbreaks, with more than 47 percent of the population immunized against diphtheria, whooping cough and polio, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Currently, in New Zealand it is only four years since a diphtheria outbreak of 1,300 cases last occurred in the country and just 11 years since haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) involved 250 people in a South Pacific outbreak in 2006.
Last year measles was the sixth most common cause of hospitalization among children under five in New Zealand, according to Ministry of Health, meaning that despite the high uptake of immunization around 25 percent of the population carry measles, part of an increasing tide of vaccine-preventable diseases at the moment.