Getting a measles vaccine

How to find out if you’ve had your measles vaccine, where to get one, and what to expect.

Last updated: 19 May 2022

Where you can get the measles vaccine 

You can get your measle vaccination at your GP, healthcare provider, or some local pharmacies .  

Many pharmacies will allow walk-ins but it’s a good idea to call ahead to check.  

Pharmacies can only administer the measles vaccine if you’re aged between 16 and 50. 

You’ll need a total of 2 doses to be fully protected and they need to be at least a month apart. 

Finding out if you’ve had your measles vaccine 

Ask your doctor, parent, or caregiver if you had your two measles vaccinations as a child. 

Lower immunisation rates in the past mean that teenagers and young adults are at greatest risk of catching measles. People born between 1989–2004 are less likely to have been fully immunised as children. 

If you’re not sure, play it safe and get a vaccine. It’s recommended you receive a dose, which will then be recorded against your health record. There are no safety concerns with having an extra dose, even if there is a chance you’ve already had two doses of the vaccine. 

Just one dose is 95% effective. 

If you were vaccinated overseas 

The measles vaccination is also called the MMR vaccine. It protects you against 3 viral infections – measles, mumps and rubella.   

Some other countries only vaccinate against measles and rubella. So, even if you were vaccinated against measles overseas, make sure you get a free MMR in New Zealand so that you’re protected from mumps too. 

Who shouldn’t have the vaccine

You shouldn’t get immunised against measles if you: 

  • are pregnant 
  • are allergic or had anaphylaxis to MMR 
  • or are severely immunocompromised. 

Having measles and the COVID-19 vaccine 

The measles vaccine may be administered before, after, or at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, without the need to leave any gap.  

There are no safety concerns with having both at the same time. 

What to expect 

For adults, the vaccine is given as an injection in your arm. 

After your vaccination, you may be asked to wait for up to 20 minutes so that treatment can be given quickly if a very rare, severe allergic reaction occurs. 

The chance of having a serious side-effect from the measles vaccine is extremely rare. 

Side effects of the MMR vaccine and how it works

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