The health ministry has told municipalities to ensure a stable supply of measles shots for children amid a surge in demand for the vaccine following recent small outbreaks in Japan.

The ministry’s notice, issued Thursday, calls for municipalities to liaise with local drug wholesalers and medical institutions to prioritize measles shots for children.

Measles is highly contagious, with the virus transmitted by air. Infections can develop after exposure to droplets from an infected person's cough and from contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus.