Free MMR vaccine Fieldays reminder

Media release

27 May 2016

Don’t let measles make you lose your spot at the tractor pull at Fieldays next month – make sure you’re fully vaccinated before you go.

Last year more than 120,000 people from around the country attended the four day event at Mystery Creek.

The Ministry of Health’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Simpson, says with the Waikato region currently experiencing a significant measles outbreak, those planning to attend Fieldays should ensure that they are fully vaccinated against this serious and highly contagious virus.

Dr Simpson says, ‘If unimmunised people are exposed to measles, they risk spreading the virus in their community.

‘This has already happened in the current outbreak, with visitors to and from Waikato leading to measles cases in the Nelson Marlborough, Northland and MidCentral District Health Board areas.

‘Measles is highly infectious and can have serious consequences. Around 30 percent of people with measles will develop complications. About 1 in 10 people will require hospital treatment.

‘Unimmunised people exposed to measles need to be quarantined for at least 14 days. This means missing out on things like school, work, sporting competitions and community events.

‘Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most effective measure you can take to protect you, your family, and the wider community.’

New Zealanders born from 1 January 1969 are eligible for free MMR vaccinations. Those born before the measles vaccine became available in 1969 are considered at lower risk because they were probably exposed to measles as a child.

Those unsure of their vaccination status can check Well Child Tamariki Ora or Plunket books, or contact their General Practice. If in doubt, just get vaccinated – it’s free. The group most at risk is those aged 10 to 29, as they’re least likely to have been fully immunised.

Symptoms of measles can include fever, runny nose, and sore watery red eyes that last for several days before a red blotchy rash appears.

Anyone with these symptoms should call ahead before visiting their family doctor, after hour’s clinic or emergency department so steps can be taken to reduce the risk of infecting others in the waiting room.

Further information is available through 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or Healthline (0800 611 116), and at Immunisation.

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