People travelling to Auckland are encouraged to get their babies immunised against measles earlier at 12 months of age (instead of 15 months).
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Margo McLean, says given the measles outbreak in Auckland, providing the first Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination for babies at 12 months would help protect vulnerable infants travelling to Auckland from the measles infection.
The Ministry of Health this week sent out a National Health Advisory recommending babies travelling to Auckland, or living in Auckland, could have their first measles vaccine earlier at 12 months of age.
“We urge any parents intending on travelling to Auckland with children who haven’t been immunised to see their Health Centre. Babies who are travelling to Auckland should have their first measles vaccine earlier than the usual 15 months, at 12 months of age.”
Students attending the AIMS Games in Tauranga (8 – 13 September 2019) are also being advised to check they are protected against measles before they leave for the tournament.”
Dr McLean said immunisation is the best protection against measles and all people under 50 years old should check their immunisation status with their Health Centre. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95% of people are protected.
We are very fortunate that there have been no confirmed cases of measles in Tairāwhiti this year. However, with the level of the outbreak in Auckland, and to a lesser extent around the country, it is just a matter of time. It is important people do all they can to protect their whānau. Measles is a serious disease. In the current outbreak approximately 40 percent of people who have got measles have been hospitalised.
The first early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough. After three to five days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.
What to do if you suspect you, or a family member has measles.
If you believe you or a family member may have measles, please stay at home and phone your health centre to alert them of your symptoms and allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people. You can also call Healthline for free advice on 0800 611 116.
MMR vaccine protection
Babies aged 12 months who will be travelling to Auckland, or who are living in Auckland, can now receive their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine (normally the first MMR vaccine occurs at 15 months of age).
Two doses of the MMR vaccine provides the most effective protection for yourself, your family and the wider community. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95% of people are protected from measles. After two doses, more than 99% people are protected.
In New Zealand, if you were born in 1969 or later, you can get the measles vaccine for free.
Older children and adults aged up to 50 years who have no documented evidence of immunisation against measles are recommended to get immunised. If unsure, please check with your health centre.
Almost everyone aged 50 or older are concerned immune. Teenagers and young adults are least likely to have been immunised as young children.