SUVA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Health Ministry has an interim shortage of the measles vaccine as additional stocks are expected to arrive soon after nine people have been confirmed with measles, the ministry said Thursday.
The Ministry of Health said the remaining measles vaccine stock will be prioritized to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles and it is not available for the general public until additional stocks arrive in the coming days.
The Health Ministry said current stocks are being reserved for high-risk target groups which include residents of Serua/Namosi, one of the 14 provinces on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu’s western side which initially contracted measles.
Fijian children from the ages of 6 months to 3 years and people travelling overseas are on the priority list.
The Fijian government also wants people travelling overseas to show proof of travel such as their ticket and travel itinerary and not just by a passport.
The next batch of 200,000 vaccines will arrive in the island nation over the weekend or early next week.
Cases of measles also have been reported in other South Pacific island countries like Samoa and Tonga.
Last Friday, the Samoan government declared a 30-day state of emergency in response to the measles crisis.
All schools were ordered to close, and restrictions were placed on the movement of vulnerable people in order to curb the spread of the disease.
Samoa has taken strict measures to deal with the measles epidemics which started in the island nation from mid-October this year.
The orders include compulsory vaccinations, a crackdown on public gatherings and the involvement of the police to keep the peace and provide support where needed.
In Tonga, all government primary schools and kindergartens have been shut until at least November 25, in an effort to limit the spread of measles sweeping through the South Pacific.
American Samoa, also announced a public health emergency and governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said everyone travelling from Tonga and Samoa to the U.S territory must provide proof of measles immunisation as a condition of entry.