Measles

Measles is highly infectious and immunisation is the best way to protect against getting measles. It is currently a very concerning time for whānau and families. Plunket has put together some information to help.

NEW: Auckland drop-in vaccination clinics for babies and toddlers. Read more.

Symptoms of measles:

The first symptoms of measles include a fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery pink eyes (conjunctivitis), and sometimes small white spots on the back inner cheek of the mouth.

Day 3-7 of the illness: a blotchy rash that tends to start on the face, behind the ears, before moving over the head and down the body. This lasts up to a week.

Plunket's guidelines on measles

  • The best thing New Zealanders can do right now is check their children’s MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination status and if they are not immune, get them vaccinated. Measles is highly infectious, and immunisation is the best way to protect against getting measles.
  • You can check yours and your child’s immunisation status by calling your family doctor or checking your own health records.
  • If you were born BEFORE 1969 (and you’re 50 or older), you are considered to have immunity.
  • Two doses of the measles vaccine provides the most effective protection for you, 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.

Auckland region:

  • If you are based in Auckland, ensure all children receive their MMR vaccinations on time at 12 months and 4 years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
  • The Ministry of Health has approved a regional plan for Auckland DHBs to vaccinate babies from 6 months of age from 21 October. This is part of the response to the outbreak and will be reviewed in mid-December to see whether it should be continued. Babies from 6 months will receive the MMR0 vaccine and will still need to receive two more MMR vaccinations, with the first dose at 12 months.
  • Three Auckland DHBs are doing targeted community outreach, namely groups who are most affected by the outbreak including 15-29 year olds and Pacific peoples.
  • Infants aged 6–15 months who are travelling to areas where there are serious measles outbreaks are able to get the MMR vaccine before leaving, if the primary healthcare provider believes this to be appropriate. For parents who request an MMR dose 0 (infants aged 6–11 months) due to concerns about their infant being at high risk of exposure, a GP may provide a prescription for this vaccine dose to be administered if felt to be appropriate.
Drop-in vaccination clinics

Auckland and Counties Manukau DHBs wants everyone aged six months to five years protected from measles so is holding baby and toddler MMR vaccination clinics in South and West Auckland.

Any child aged from six months up to five years is eligible to come along and receive the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. No appointment is necessary and it’s FREE.

Clinics
  • 2 November, 8.30am-2.30pm at Waitakere Hospital. Free parking is provided. Report to Entrance A and follow instructions.
  • 2, 9, 23 November, 9am-3pm at Unit B6, Kidz First Community Clinic, Clendon Shopping Centre.
  • 2, 9, 16, 30 November, 9am-3pm at Mangere Community Health Hub, 10 Waddon Place, Mangere.
  • 16 November & 14 December, 9am-3pm at Pukekohe Hospital, 1 Tuakau Road, Pukekohe.
  • 23 & 30 November, 9am-3pm at Papakura Birthing Unit, 2 Clevedon Road, Papakura.
  • 7 December, 9am-3pm at St John’s Hall, 4 Court Street, Waiuku.
  • 7 & 14 December, 9am-3pm at Clover Park Community House, 6A Israel Avenue, Clover Park.

Rest of New Zealand

  • If you are NOT based in Auckland, ensure all children receive their vaccinations on time at 15 months and 4 years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
  • Vaccination is also recommend for those who have had susceptible close contacts within 72 hours of first exposure to measles when possible.
  • Vaccination can also be given to those travelling to areas with serious measles outbreaks (international and Auckland) for infants under 15 months. If you have children under 5 who are not up to date with their scheduled MMR vaccinations, we recommend they are vaccinated at least two weeks before travel to areas where there are serious measles outbreaks.

If you don’t reach the above criteria:

For those who don’t meet the above priorities, it is recommended that your GP include you on a recall list for when vaccine distribution returns to normal. When stocks are secure, GPs should be offering two documented doses of MMR vaccine for free to those who need it, as per the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Infants aged under 6 months are too young to receive an MMR vaccination.

What to do if you suspect you have measles 

If you (or a family member) suspect you have measles, you should stay at home. You can call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 for any advice. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also call your doctor to check if you need to be seen, and – this is really important – what their process is if you do.  If you have measles it is important to avoid spreading it to others in the waiting room.

For help and advice call PlunketLine 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In an emergency, phone 111.

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