Be a Guardian of the Future: Get a free measles immunisation

Protect against measles.With Aotearoa’s international borders now open, ensuring our communities are protected from measles as much as possible has become important for public health, general practice teams and community pharmacies in New Zealand.

“Measles is more than eight times more infectious than COVID-19. It can make you very sick and affect your health for the rest of your life,” says Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink.

More than 2,000 Kiwis got sick from measles in 2019 and more than 700 needed hospital treatment.

“The measles outbreak in 2019 and the current COVID-19 pandemic have shown the impact infectious diseases can have when we are not immune,” says Dr Pink.

“Now is the time to catch up on the vaccinations we have easy access to – such as MMR – to protect our community and whānau in the future.”

Check if you or your whānau are immunised against measles

It’s really important we all check if our pēpi, tamariki and rangatahi (young people between 17 and 32 years old) need to get their MMR vaccination.

Ideally all pēpi should get their two doses of the MMR vaccine when they are 12 and 15 months old. Talk to your GP today if they haven’t. Now is the time to immunise!

Contact your general practice team if you have rangatahi in your whānau who aren’t sure if they had their MMR vaccination when they were young. The staff can help you to confirm if your young people need to get their two doses. Rangatahi can get their free MMR vaccination at their local general practice team or pharmacy.

If you’re still not sure, get your MMR vaccination anyway. It’s safe to get your two doses again.

The MMR vaccination is safe, free and you can have it at the same time as your flu jab or COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
If you have recently had COVID-19, you can get your MMR vaccination as soon as you have recovered or as advised by your health professional.

Protect yourself and others against this highly infectious disease

“Measles is more than eight times more infectious than COVID-19. It can make you very sick and affect your health for the rest of your life. Getting a catch-up dose now will make sure you and those around you are protected in the future,” says Dr Pink.

About ninety-five percent of people will be protected by just one dose of MMR. Two doses ensures more than 99 percent of people are protected. The vaccine also protects against mumps and rubella. It is safe to have an MMR even if you are unsure if you have been fully immunised.

“We’re urging everyone aged 15 to 30 years old to get at least one MMR vaccination to help prevent future outbreaks of measles,” says Dr Pink. “Ask your doctor, parents or caregiver if you had two doses of MMR as a kid. If you didn’t or aren’t sure, it’s a good idea to get one MMR dose now.”

Get your for your free measles catch up jab at your local General Practice team in Canterbury and the West Coast. You can also get an MMR catch up from some pharmacies if you are over 16.

MMR is also part of the childhood immunisation schedule. Anyone born after 1969 is still eligible for two free MMR doses.

Source: Canterbury DHB CEO Update (28th September 2020) and West Coast DHB media release (13th October 2020).

Published on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022, under News
Page last updated: 30/06/2022

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