There are currently outbreaks of measles in New Zealand. Immunisation is your best protection against measles and the MMR vaccine is available free from your GP. Make sure you and your whanau are protected - if you are under 50 years and have never had a measles vaccine get vaccinated today.
For information about local responses see:
- Northland District Health Board - measles update
- Auckland Regional Public Health Service - measles in Auckland.
- MidCentral DHB - measles
- Toi te Ora Public Health - latest measles news
- Canterbury measles outbreak declared over - what you need to know
- Waikato DHB measles update - what you and your whanau need to know
Information about the number of measles cases reported nationwide in 2019 is published by ESR.
Local vaccination programmes
Auckland Regional Public Health Service and the Ministry of Health are recommending that all one year old children in Counties Manukau, Auckland and Waitemata DHBs receive their first MMR early to protect them from measles. The 15 month immunisations, which include MMR, have been brought forward to age 12 months in this region.
Practices in Auckland can offer all four 15 month vaccinations at the same visit for convenience and simplicity. These include vaccines against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae) and chickenpox infections.
Rest of New Zealand
The risk of catching measles is lower for the rest of New Zealand so the normal immunisation schedule should be maintained with MMR given at 15 months and 4 years.
In Auckland and everywhere else, older children and adults aged up to 50 years who have no documented evidence of vaccination against measles are recommended to get vaccinated. Two doses of MMR vaccine are free for eligible people, however practices may need to defer appointments for those seeking a second dose..
A person who has been given one dose of the MMR vaccine has a 95 percent chance of being immune to the virus. More than 99 percent of people who receive two MMR doses (given at least four weeks apart, and the first dose given after age 12 months) develop immunity to measles.
Almost everyone aged 50 or older had measles as a child and is therefore immune. 90 percent of people in their 30s and 40s are immune. Teenagers and young adults are least likely to have been immunised as young children. If you’re not sure of your vaccination history, you can check your Well Child/Tamariki Ora (or Plunket) book, or ask your general practice.
Find out more about catch up immunisation at Are your immunisations up to date?
Overseas travel advice
Since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand have been linked to travellers bringing the disease from overseas. There are currently significant measles outbreaks overseas, including in the Philippines and in some European countries.
Children who have not yet been immunised are at greatest risk of the disease and the Ministry of Health recommends that infants aged 6–15 months travelling to countries with serious measles outbreaks be given MMR vaccine before their travel. While measles immunisation is usually given at age 15 months and 4 years in New Zealand, the MMR vaccine can be given to children as young as 6 months. Because the vaccine's effectiveness is lower for babies under 12 months of age, if they are given the vaccine, they will still need two further doses of the vaccine at 15 months and 4 years for long term protection.
The Ministry of Health is advising people travelling overseas to make sure they are fully immunised against measles before they go. See Safe Travel for more information.
An up-to-date list of countries with a measles outbreak can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For more information on symptoms and stopping the spread of measles, visit our main Measles page.