Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. It’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 so spreads fast. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading measles.
If you’re aged 15-30, you may not have been fully vaccinated against measles.
You can get the free MMR vaccination from your Māori Health Provider, doctor or nurse. You can also get your MMR immunisation from these pharmacies if you are 16 years or older.
|09 405 0355|
|Hauora Hokianga - Hokianga
|Ngāti Hine Health Trust - Kawakawa, Moerewa|
|Te Hau Ora O Ngāpuhi - Kaikohe|
|Ki A Ora Ngātiwai|
|Te Ha Oranga - Kaipara|
Measles virus is highly contagious. It is spread through the air by infected droplets or by direct contact with secretions from the nose or throat of infected persons, for example by touching contaminated items or surfaces. It can survive for up to 2 hours in the air. A person with measles is most contagious from when symptoms start until three to four days after the rash appears.
Anyone who has not received at least one dose of a measles-containing vaccine or who has not already had the disease is at risk of catching measles.
It usually takes 10-12 days from exposure to the first symptom. The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (inflammation in the eyes), which lasts for 2-4 days. It may be possible to see small white spots (Koplik spots) inside the mouth. A rash appears 2-4 days after the first symptoms, beginning at the hairline and gradually spreading down the body to the arms and legs. The rash lasts for up to one week.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles. Supportive care including good nutrition, vitamin A supplements and adequate fluid intake, including hospital care when needed, can help to manage severe complications.
We recently had a measles outbreak in New Zealand, with more than 2,000 people catching measles in 2019. 700 had to go to hospital. Māori and Pacific peoples were particularly affected. We need 95 percent of people to be immune to reach ‘community immunity’ (sometimes known as ‘herd immunity’) and help stop future outbreaks.
The chance of having a serious side-effect from the MMR vaccine is extremely rare and would happen within 20 minutes of being immunised. That’s why you’ll be asked to stay for 20 minutes after you have the MMR vaccine. If a severe allergic reaction does happen, the vaccinator can effectively treat it.
Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will talk about possible reactions with you at the time.
There are very few people who can’t be immunised. Talk with your health professional if you’ve had a serious reaction to a vaccine in the past, are being treated for cancer or a severe illness, or had a blood transfusion in the last year. You can’t have the MMR vaccine when you’re pregnant.