Measles: Keeping you up to date

2 September 2019

Measles: Keeping you up to date.
From Immunisation Advisory Centre NZ. 30 August 2019

The measles outbreak continues, and our phone line is running hot. We wanted to share some of the most common queries we're getting.

Q: A parent wants their 6-11 month old vaccinated with MMR, is that funded/allowed?
A: As per the National Health Advisory issued Tuesday 27th: 
"The MMR vaccine can be given to children as young as 6 months old after consultation with your family doctor but the child will still need two more MMR vaccinations when they are older than one year. If you are travelling overseas with your baby to areas with uncontrolled measles outbreaks, or have concerns about their potential exposure to measles you should discuss this with your family doctor."
Our interpretation of this is that parents can request MMR (called an MMR0 dose) for their 6-11 month old if they are concerned their infant is at high risk of contact with measles. Given the Advisory, we would suggest parental requests should generally be accepted unless the doctor considers the infant is at low risk of coming into contact with measles. The doctor will need to document the decision in the patient notes.

Q: Can the 15 month immunisation be given early?
All children in the Auckland region and those travelling to Auckland are recommended to have the 15 month vaccines earlier, at 12 months. When an infant is being given the vaccines at 12 months of age we recommend that all the 15 month immunisations are given (MMR, varicella, Hib and PCV). In other parts of New Zealand, the 15 month event can be given as early at 12 months on parental request.

Q: I've only had one MMR, do I need another?
If you have had only one MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) you are considered highly likely to be immune.  Provided it has been at least two weeks since you were vaccinated. One MMR provides a very high level of protection for most people (90 to 95 out of 100 will be fully protected). But to be sure, it is recommended to have two MMRs. The second MMR provides protection for those who did not obtain it from the first dose. (An extra 3 - 5 out of 100 will gain protection).
Adults are recommended to have a second MMR at least one month after the first.
Children are recommended to have a second MMR at the age of 4 years.  This vaccine can be given earlier than 4 years, but the priority for the currently very busy health services is the first vaccination which offers the majority of protection.

Q: I'm over 50 and I don't know if I was vaccinated
A: A: Generally you don't need to receive an MMR vaccination. You are considered to be immune to measles as there was no measles-containing vaccine offered in NZ until 1969 and the disease is so highly infectious that people born before this age were highly likely to have been exposed to it. For those born elsewhere it is fairly similar, with most countries introducing measles-containing vaccines from the 1960s.  

Q: What's happening in Counties Manukau? (CMDHB)
A: CMDHB are offering a range of outreach and school-based catch up clinics for those who haven't had their MMR. Click here to go to a press release with more information.

Q: Things seem to be changing every 5 minutes- where can I get the latest update?
A: Our measles outbreak page is updated frequently and also links to the DHB web pages. Click on the button below to check this page first:

Measles information on immune.org.nz