Are you aged between 15 and 30?

If you’re aged between 15 and 30 you might not be protected against measles. Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick.

Key points about protecting against measles 

  1. Lots of people aged between 15 and 30 years didn’t get fully vaccinated against measles when they were children. This puts them at risk of catching and spreading measles.
  2. Getting the MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles – it’s easy and free.
  3. It takes 2 doses of the MMR vaccine to be immune to measles. If you only had 1 dose, you are not fully protected.
  4. Measles is a serious disease that can make people very ill. It’s also highly infectious, which means it spreads easily and quickly – it’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19!
  5. When you get vaccinated against measles, you don't just protect yourself. You also protect your whānau, community and future generations from harm.

What should I do if I’m aged between 15 and 30?

  • Ask your doctor, parent or caregiver whether you have had 2 doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine as a child.
  • If they don’t know, ask to get vaccinated now. It’s safe to have an extra dose of the MMR vaccine.
  • Some other countries only vaccinate against measles and rubella. So, even if you were vaccinated against measles overseas, make sure you get your free MMR in New Zealand so that you’re protected from mumps too.

Why should I get vaccinated?

There are lots of good reasons to get vaccinated!

You could get very sick if you get measles

You can have complications like pneumonia, seizures and swelling of your brain. People can die from measles.

You might make others very sick if you get measles

Some people can’t have the MMR vaccine because they’re very young or have a health condition disease that affects their immune system. Being vaccinated means you won’t catch measles and spread it to vulnerable people.

If you get measles when you’re pregnant, it could affect your baby

You may go into labour early or your baby may have a low birth-weight. This can have life-long impacts on your baby’s health. You can’t have the MMR vaccine when you’re pregnant, so it’s best to get it before you do.

You could miss out on earning, learning or having fun

If you haven’t had the MMR vaccine and are in the same room as someone with measles, you will have to isolate for up to 2 weeks. This is in case you’ve caught measles and makes sure you can’t pass it on to anyone else.

We recently had a measles outbreak

In Aotearoa New Zealand, more than 2,000 people got measles in 2019. About 700 people had to go to hospital. Māori and Pasifika peoples were particularly affected. We need 95% of people to be vaccinated so we reach ‘community immunity’ (sometimes known as ‘herd immunity’) and help stop future outbreaks.

Measles is only a plane ride away

Measles is still common in many countries. People can bring it into Aotearoa New Zealand without knowing. You could also be exposed if you travel to certain countries overseas.

Where can I get an MMR vaccination?

You can ask your GP for a measles vaccination. It’s free.

You can also get a free vaccination at some pharmacies if you’re 16 or older. Check if your local pharmacy offers the MMR vaccine. If it does, you can just turn up. You don’t need an appointment.

A healthcare provider may offer you a free measles vaccination when you’re at a community event, school or work.

Learn more

The following links provide further information about protecting yourself against measles. Be aware that websites from other countries may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.  

Protect against measles Ministry of Health, NZ, 2020

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.