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Catch-up on your free measles vaccination now - Hawke's Bay DHB

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Measles is a serious and highly infectious disease. It is important people aged between 15 and 30 years old, unsure if they are protected against measles, get their free MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine now. Hawke’s Bay Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre says a catch-up programme for measles immunisation is underway across the country.

The programme is aimed at people born between 1990 and 2005 (aged 15 to 30), as this age group may have missed either one or both of their immunisations when they were younger and therefore have lower levels of immunity than the rest of the population. This group is not only more likely to catch measles but also to spread it to others such as babies, who are too young to be immunised.

Dr Eyre said "Measles is about eight times more infectious than COVID-19 and can make people very sick, which we saw in Samoa last year.

"In most people, one dose of MMR vaccine ensures about 95 percent protection from measles, while two doses provide about 99 percent protection. The vaccine also protects against mumps and rubella.

"Ask your doctor, parents or caregiver if you’ve had two doses of MMR. If you’re not sure, it’s best to get one MMR dose now - it is completely safe, unless you are pregnant or have other specific medical conditions, which your medical professional will discuss with you, " Dr Eyre says.

You can get a free MMR dose from your General Practice or from most Hawke’s Bay pharmacies, if you are aged over 16.

MMR is also part of the childhood immunisation schedule (which moved to 12 and 15 months from 1 October). Anyone born after 1969 continues to be eligible for two free MMR doses.

For more information about measles and the MMR vaccination, visit the Ministry of Health’s website protectagainstmeasles.org.nz.

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