Te rongoā āraimate mō te mate karawaka, te mate pupuhi repe me te karawaka tiamana (MMR) Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine

Aotearoa New Zealand is at very high risk of a measles outbreak. There is a risk of getting measles if you have not had 2 vaccinations, or have not already had measles. The measles (MMR) vaccine is free for all children age 18 and under in NZ, and all adults over the age of 18 who are eligible for free NZ healthcare.

High risk of a measles outbreak

The measles vaccine with Dr Hina Lutui

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgKscEDAmH0

What the MMR vaccine protects you from

The MMR vaccine protects against 3 viral infections — measles, mumps and rubella.

Measles

Measles is one of the most dangerous and contagious diseases. If you are not vaccinated and come into contact with someone who has it, you are very likely to catch it and pass it on to others.

Measles can cause a rash, flu-like symptoms, or more serious problems like brain swelling, chest infections, or death.

If you are pregnant, measles can make you very sick and can harm your baby.

Find out more about the symptoms, spread and treatment.

Measles

Mumps

Mumps is an infectious illness caused by a virus. It leads to painful swelling in the salivary glands around the face.

In rare cases, there can be serious complications such as hearing loss, an infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (meningitis, or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Aotearoa New Zealand had an outbreak of mumps in 2017. This only settled and finally disappeared with the first COVID-19 lockdown because the disease was not able to spread easily.

Find out more about the symptoms, spread and treatment.

Mumps

Rubella

For children, rubella is usually a mild viral illness that causes a spotty rash. If you catch it when you are pregnant, however, it can cause serious birth defects in your baby such as deafness, heart defects, and brain damage.

Find out more about the symptoms, spread and treatment.

Rubella

When to get the MRR vaccine

The MMR vaccine is offered to tamariki on the schedule at 12 months and 15 months, but an additional early dose may be available if there is an outbreak of measles.

For those who missed out on their MMR immunisations, it is free for everyone aged 18 years old and under it does not matter what your visa or citizenship status is. This includes visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand.

For people over 18 years old, the MMR vaccine is free if you are a resident, or eligible for free healthcare in New Zealand.

  • Pēpi (babies) 6 to 11 months

    If there is a measles outbreak, or if you are travelling to a country with an active measles outbreak, pēpi between the ages of 6 and 11 months may be advised to have an additional free dose of the MMR vaccine early. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about this.

    It is very important your child still has their scheduled 2 doses at 12 and 15 months old.

  • Tamariki 12 months and 15 months old

    The MMR vaccine is free and offered to tamariki at 12 months and 15 months.

    If your child missed their MMR vaccine it is free for them to catch up.

    If you are unable to confirm if they have already had 2 doses, they should get vaccinated anyway. There is no risk in having extra doses.

  • Adults born between 1989 and 2004

    Many adults and rangatahi (young people) born between 1989 and 2004 in Aotearoa New Zealand were not vaccinated against measles.

    Adults need to be up to date with MMR vaccinations to protect themselves and their community. For best protection, 2 doses are needed, a minimum of 4 weeks apart.

    To check whether you have been vaccinated, contact your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.

    If you are unable to find out if you have been vaccinated, it is recommended you get vaccinated as soon as possible. There is no additional risk in getting extra MMR doses it is important to know you have had 2 doses.

    The MMR vaccine is free for:

    • everyone aged 18 years old and under (it does not matter what their visa or citizenship status is) and
    • those eligible for free healthcare in New Zealand.

    Eligibility for publicly funded health and disability services — Health New Zealand

  • Adults who lived in New Zealand before 1969

    Most people who lived in New Zealand before 1969 do not require a measles vaccination. Measles was common at the time so you will have developed natural immunity through being exposed. However, if you are travelling overseas we recommend you talk to your healthcare provider as they might recommend a vaccine to make sure you are immune.

  • If you are immunocompromised

    Anyone who has a severely weakened immune system cannot have the MMR vaccine for example, people having cancer treatment.

    To protect them, it is very important all whānau around immunocompromised people are fully vaccinated against MMR.

    If there are cases of measles in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is recommended that immunocompromised people take extra precautions to keep safe such as staying away from crowded places.

    If there are measles cases at your child’s school, or early childhood centre, you will be advised on what to do to keep your child safe.

  • If you are pregnant

    You cannot have the MMR vaccine when you are pregnant. If you are planning a baby, it is free to find out if you are immune to measles and rubella. If you are not immune to measles or rubella, it is free to get vaccinated if you are under 18 years of age or over 18 and and New Zealand resident.

    After your baby is born, it may be recommended that you have a free measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation. You should do this as soon as you can.

    Pregnancy and immunisations

  • If you are travelling

    If you are travelling to countries that have measles in their community, it is really important you and your whānau are up to date with your MMR vaccinations.

    You can check current outbreaks on the following website.

    Global Measles Outbreaks Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Find out if you need a measles vaccine

Answer a few questions to find out of you need an MRR vaccine.

 

How to protect tamariki from measles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhJhzdcpq5A

Book an MMR vaccine

It is easy and free to get immunised against measles, mumps, and rubella.

For ages 13 and over

Vaccinations for individuals or groups aged 13 or over can be booked online or over the phone.

For under age 13

Contact your usual doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider to book an appointment for someone under 13.

People over 3 years old can get an MMR vaccine at lots of pharmacies. You can search for one near you on Healthpoint.

Pharmacies offering MMR vaccinations — Healthpoint

Some places offer group appointments for immunisations. Contact your doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, or pharmacy to see if your whānau can have a group appointment so you can all get vaccinated together.

More information on bookings and support services

Find more information on booking a vaccine, or how to get specific support for your needs. 

Which vaccine is used

The vaccine we use in New Zealand is Priorix. This vaccine which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. 2 doses, at least a month apart, are needed for best protection.

It is not possible to separate these diseases out. For example, there is no ‘measles only’ vaccine available in New Zealand.

Priorix is a live vaccine. Live vaccines contain bacteria or viruses that have been weakened so that they cannot cause disease. This small amount of virus or bacteria stimulates an immune response.

The Priorix vaccine does not contain porcine (pork) products.

Priorix information – Medsafe (PDF 276KB) (external link)

Side effects and reactions

Like most medicines, vaccines can sometimes cause reactions. These are usually mild, and not everyone will get them.

Mild reactions are normal and shows that your immune system is responding to the vaccine.

If you are going to have any reactions, they normally happen in the first few days after getting vaccinated. The vaccine itself is gone from your body within a few hours or days.

The most common reaction to an immunisation includes:

  • a slight fever
  • pain or swelling where the needle went in.

Other reactions

Other common reactions of the MMR vaccine include:

  • mild rash — between 6 and 12 days after immunisation
  • high fever — over 39°C between 6 and 12 days after immunisation
  • swollen glands in the cheeks, neck, or under the jaw
  • temporary joint pain — 2 to 4 weeks after immunisation.

A very rare side effect is bruise-like spots that appear 15 days to 6 weeks after immunisation. This is mild, and usually goes away within 6 months.

Allergic reactions

Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare. Only about 1 in 1 million people will experience this.

Your vaccinator is well-trained and knows what to look for and can treat an allergic reaction quickly if it happens.

Serious allergic reactions normally happen within the first few minutes of vaccination, this is why you need to wait for up to 20 minutes after immunisation.

More information

Find more information about common side effects, what to look for and how to report side effects.

Vaccine side effects, reactions and safety

IMAC

Quick answers to frequent MMR questions

Healthpoint

Find the locations that give MMR vaccines

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