2019 measles outbreak information

In 2019 there has been an outbreak of measles in Canterbury and cases in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. 

For information about local responses see:

Information about the number of measles cases reported nationwide in 2019 is published by ESR. 

Vaccine availability

Canterbury DHB is offering a catch-up vaccination programme to those at greatest risk of the disease in their region.

In other parts of New Zealand, people aged 15 months to 50 years who have not previously been vaccinated against measles can be vaccinated if their general practice has sufficient supplies of the vaccine.  Practices may need to defer appointments for catch up immunisations for a few weeks if vaccine stocks are low. 

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.

If you haven’t been immunised, you should be cautious about travelling to any countries where there are serious measles outbreaks.

An up-to-date list of countries with a measles outbreak can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

More information

For more information on symptoms and stopping the spread of measles, visit our main Measles page.

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