Protect against measles - HP8198

June 2023
This resource relates to the following topics:

Information about measles immunisation for parents and caregivers.
Printed copies can be ordered from the National Immunisation Programme Bluestar portal

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June 2023
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Protect against measles - are your tamariki under 5 protected against measles?

Over the past couple of years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many tamariki have missed their FREE measles vaccinations. Your child needs two doses of the measles vaccine to be fully protected. The first dose is usually given at 12 months and the second dose at 15 months of age.

If your child is more than 15 months old and hasn’t had both doses of the measles vaccine, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Why is it important for tamariki to get their measles vaccinations?

Measles can be dangerous, particularly for children aged under 5. It spreads very quickly and in serious cases can lead to pneumonia and brain infection. About 1 in 10 people with measles need to go to hospital. In a small number of cases, measles can be fatal.

What’s measles?

Measles is a virus infection that is highly contagious. It’s spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms typically begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes then developing the classical measles rash starting on the face and moving down the body.

How effective is the measles vaccine?

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

The MMR vaccine is very effective. After one dose, about 95 percent of people are protected from measles and after two doses more than 99 percent of people are protected.

How do I find out if my child has had their measles vaccinations?

If you’re unsure if your tamariki are up to date with their vaccinations, it may be recorded in their Well Child Tamariki Ora (Plunket) book. If it’s not, and you’re still unsure whether your child is up to date with their vaccinations, check with your doctor.

Your child should be vaccinated against a range of other viruses at various points throughout their childhood and adolescence. These vaccinations are FREE.

To find out more about what vaccinations they need, speak to your GP, nurse practitioner or local vaccinator, or visit –

Are there any side effects from getting the measles vaccination?

A small number of children may experience a headache, slight fever, nausea (feeling sick) and feeling generally unwell and tired. Some children might develop a measles like rash, but this is rare. Most side effect shouldn’t last more than a day or two.

Getting your child’s measles vaccine is easy and it’s FREE

Your tamariki can get their FREE measles vaccination at your doctor. Many pharmacies also offer the measles vaccine too. Talk to your doctor, Well Child Tamariki Ora Nurse, Māori Health provider or visit your local pharmacy.

To find out more visit – or call Healthline on 0800 611 11