Auckland ambulance officer pleas for New Zealanders to vaccinate amid measles outbreak

An Auckland ambulance officer has posted a  desperate message for New Zealanders on Facebook - "please vaccinate". 

Brendan Peat posted his plea to social media in the early hours of Saturday morning, as New Zealand struggles with its measles outbreak. 

The ambulance officer, photographed after transporting another measles patient to hospital, is pictured holding a piece of paper - his message printed loud and clear. 

"Time for a plug as the outbreak slowly turns towards an epidemic," Peat began.

"Another one tonight. 616 cases of measles [in Auckland] this year, with over 400 in Counties Manukau affecting mostly 0 to 4-year-olds and 15 to 29-year-olds.

"Please trust science," Peat wrote.

"Vaccinate not only kids but adults too, against such an easy, preventable disease."

Peat went on to reassure dubious New Zealanders that the vaccine has been "proven safe and effective".

He also wrote of Middlemore's new measles ward "seeing three new cases a day". The air-conditioner in the kids' department has allegedly been turned off, in an attempt to stop the spread of the preventable disease.

He concluded his plea with the hashtags, "StopTheSpread" and "Vaccinate".

The post has since gained traction, with almost 3000 likes and shares. 

As of Saturday, there have been 616 confirmed measles cases in Auckland alone this year. 

In March, eligibility for the MMR vaccine was widened to help control its spread.

In addition to those aged one to 28 who have never been vaccinated, caregivers of infants up to 12 months and people aged between 29 and 50 with children are eligible for the vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently named the anti-vaccination movement as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

More than 100,000 people died of measles in 2017, the WHO says, most of them preschool children. Before a vaccine was available, millions used to die annually.

Symptoms include a fever, runny nose, cough, sore red eyes and then a rash.