Counties Manukau Health staff talk about the importance of getting immunised against measles.

Auckland is experiencing a "significant" outbreak of measles as the number of confirmed cases in the city passes 1000.

As of Thursday, there were 1007 cases in Auckland and 1214 cases nationally.

Speaking to media, Auckland Regional Public Health Service medical officer Dr William Rainger said the priority should be getting the most vulnerable people vaccinated.

This included children under 5, young adults aged 15 to 29 and Pacific Islanders.


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"We do want to see that those groups are the ones that have the access," Rainger said.

People aged between 30 and 50 are the least at risk of catching the disease and catching it severely.

Rainger said although the numbers had jumped from 970 on Wednesday, it wasn't something to be concerned about.

He said it was important to look at trends over a number of days or weeks, and said the number of cases were still rising at the same rate as previous weeks.

Distributing the vaccines to the places that needed them most had been a challenge but the sector had risen to it, Rainger said.

"The work being done by general practitioners in vaccinating is much to be admired," he said.

This week, the Ministry of Health undertook a "stocktake" of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to get greater clarity around which areas had sufficient stocks of the vaccine.

The ministry told Stuff on Wednesday 8000 vaccine doses had since been "ring fenced" for use in Auckland. The distributor sent 3000 doses from Wellington to Auckland overnight, it said.

The three Auckland DHBs were managing this stock, working with primary health organisations and practices directly, the ministry said.

Measles is a highly infectious and potentially life-threatening viral illness, which has more than a 50 per cent death rate in children with low immunity.

It is almost entirely preventable through two doses of the MMR vaccine.

After one dose, 95 per cent of people are protected from measles. After two doses, more than 99 per cent are protected.

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