FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is there an outbreak?
My baby is less than a year old. What can I do to protect her/him?
Keep your baby away from un-vaccinated people and those who are coughing or sniffly as much as possible. Immunise her/him promptly at 12 months, and call us to discuss options if baby is 6-12 months and at day-care and might be exposed. Consider keeping baby home from daycare if possible. The immunisations do not work in babies less than 6 months old, your best protection is to keep baby at home. If your baby has been in contact with a known case of measles during their infectious period (5 days before and 5 days after the rash came out) please call us for advice.
Can my baby have their MMR at 6 months?
Ministry is not recommending routine measles vaccines at 6-12 months unless your baby has been exposed to an active case of measles during the infectious period (5 days before the rash came out and 5 days afterwards)or will be traveling to a country with an active outbreak. This is because the MMR is only about 75% effective at 6 months of age, and we will need to give a total of three jabs if the first one is given at less than 12 months. However, if your baby is at day-care and likely to be exposed to measles, please call us to discuss.
Currently countries with known outbreaks
I can’t get an appointment with your clinic for a measles vaccine (MMR) this week…
We are trying our best but are absolutely swamped, and have to continue with our regular work whilst we are coping with this outbreak. We are very sorry that we cannot immunise everyone immediately but it is not possible. While you are waiting for your jabs, please stay away from coughing/sniffly people, stay away from big gatherings e.g. sports events/shopping centers etc. You may consider working from home or keeping your baby at home. We are happy to give your un-immunized child a sick note to stay at home from school until 14 days after they have had their jabs. Please phone to request this note and we will email it to you.
Is the measles vaccine (MMR) free?
Measles vaccine (MMR) immunisations are funded for NZ residents and those eligible for funded medical treatments. Unfortunately it is not free for those who do not qualify. see bottom of page for details.
I am an adult and I don’t know if I had a measles vaccine as a child. What do I do?
I am an adult under 50 years old and I really can’t remember if I had my jabs, and my mum/whanau can’t remember either
If you are a health care worker in contact with patients, a teacher working with children, or otherwise at risk, you might want to consider having a blood test to check if you are immune, see below. Otherwise please book in for an immunisation.
I want a blood test to check if I am immune to measles
We are only allowed to order a funded blood test to check immunity if you have been closely exposed to a notified case of measles during their infectious period (5 days before the rash came out, and 5 days afterwards) and the result will impact on school or work attendance. If you haven’t had a close exposure to an infectious case during their infectious period, we are not allowed to order a funded blood test for you. However you can access this test by paying at Labtests to have a measles immunity blood test (about $50-55). You don’t need a lab form from the doctor, you can just go and request it and pay for it. Please ask for a copy of the results to be sent to us.
How long does measles immunity (natural or from a vaccine) last?
Immunity is lifelong regardless if it is naturally acquired in those older than 50, or by immunization in those younger than 50
I am an adult/child less than 50 years old and I know definitely I didn’t have any measles vaccines
You are eligible for a free measles vaccine at the GP. We are currently overwhelmed by the demand and are only able to immunize our registered patients. We are also experiencing a heavy demand and you may not be able to get an appointment at a time that suits you for a jab for a week or more. Please do not walk in for a jab without an appointment, our nurses need to prioritize our vulnerable children first and you will be asked to make an appointment at a later date.
My child/I am sniffly and have a cough and want to be checked in case this is early measles
Please call us before you arrive if you think you have any signs or symptoms of measles and let us know. When you arrive, please call us from your car and let us know you are here. A doctor or nurse will come to your car. We need to keep our waiting room and consulting rooms safe for small babies and others at risk.
My child/I have a rash and are very worried this is measles
Please call us before you arrive if you think you have any signs or symptoms of measles and let us know. When you arrive, please call us from your car and let us know you are here. A doctor or nurse will come see you in your car. We need to keep our waiting room and consulting rooms safe for small babies and others at risk.
I/my child have been told I have been in contact with an active case of measles during their infectious period (5 days before the rash came out, and 5 days afterwards)
I/my child have been told I have been in contact with an active case of measles, but this was NOT during their infectious period (5 days before the rash came out, and 5 days afterwards)
You will not be infected by that case, but you are still generally vulnerable. Please call us to book an appointment for the immunization.
My doctor has said I may have measles. What do I do?
Here is the information about quarantine and keeping others safe. If you have a health concern whilst you are unwell, please call the practice before arriving. Unfortunately there is no specific treatment for measles. Here is some more information about this illness. Things that can help are bed rest in a quiet dark room, paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain/fever, drinking lots of fluids, wiping the eyes gently with wet cotton wool or a soft facecloth. If you have concerns about these symptoms please call us, do not break quarantine:
How dangerous is measles? Has anyone died in Auckland?
Thankfully nobody has died yet during this outbreak. Measles has a mortality rate of 1-2/1000 people infected. 1/10 people infected will need hospital admission for complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis. Babies and small children with lowered immunity have a 50% mortality from measles. In the 1991 outbreak of measles in NZ, there were around 7000 cases of measles and 7 deaths.
I have been in contact with a family member of a confirmed case of measles. I am not immunized against measles. What do I do?
I have heard that the measles vaccine (MMR) causes autism
There was a paper published in claiming the MMR caused autism, which has since been found to be untrue and withdrawn, and the author Dr. Wakefield was found guilty of ethical, medical, and scientific misconduct and his medical license was cancelled. Additional studies showed that the data presented were fraudulent. There is no evidence that this vaccine causes autism
I have heard that the measles vaccine (MMR) contains mercury
The MMR does not contain mercury.
I would like more information about vaccines
I am pregnant/trying to get pregnant. Can I have the measles vaccine (MMR)?
Unfortunately it is not safe to have this vaccine whilst you are pregnant, or if you are not using contraception and may be pregnant. This is because the vaccine is a weakened live virus and will pass to the fetus and may cause harm. We recommend that you use contraception for a month and have a negative pregnancy test before we give you this vaccine. In addition, we recommend that you do not fall pregnant for one month after this vaccine is given.
I am on immunosupressant medication. Can I have the vaccine?
No this virus is a weakened live virus and may harm you if you are on any of these medications.
Links to full resources from ARPHS