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southern measles

Information for Public

About measles in New Zealand

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While there is a safe and effective vaccine for measles, New Zealand continues to experience outbreaks of this infectious disease that can have serious health effects. In 2019 there were more than 2,000 cases of measles in New Zealand, 41% of these cases were Pacific Peoples and 24% Maori.

The Ministry of Health has launched a National Measles Campaign, the focus of which is to improve the immunity against measles.

During the campaign the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine will be offered FREE to anyone born after 1969 who has not yet been fully immunised against measles. Those born before 1969 will have natural immunity. 

Most young people will have been given at least one dose of MMR in early childhood. However, a now discredited study and ineffective reminder systems before 2005, mean some are not fully protected.

People who have come from overseas, including the Pacific Islands, may have had different vaccines that may not fully protect them against measles, mumps and rubella.

If you are not sure or you cannot find your childhood vaccination records and your GP does not have a copy of them, then the Ministry of Health recommends you have the FREE MMR vaccine now. There are no additional safety concerns with having an extra dose. However, women who are pregnant cannot have the MMR vaccine.

In Southern, our General Practices are the primary way we can achieve our vaccination goals over the next year.  People can get their FREE catch-up vaccinations now from General Practices and participating pharmacies across the Southern district.

While you are checking on your MMR vaccination status, please also take the opportunity to check you are fully vaccinated for all diseases on the New Zealand Vaccination Schedule.

To find out more about measles and the MMR vaccination, visit the Ministry of Health’s website.