Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

Measles cases are continuing to increase around the world, including in Australia, the United Kingdom, across the Middle East and Asia, and in parts of the United States.

New Zealand is at risk of measles potentially being introduced by a traveller returning or visiting from overseas – particularly from countries where there are currently high outbreaks.

Te Whatu Ora has advised Kiwis travelling overseas to make sure they are fully immunised against measles. If whānau are travelling to a country with an active measles outbreak with a young baby, babies can be considered for an MMR dose 0 from four months of age.

All MMR vaccinations are recommended at least three weeks before travel to ensure protection and to reduce the chance of having a response to the vaccine while away. But if this isn't possible, don't delay the vaccination. 

Possible responses include:

  • Measles component - fever and/or mild rash 6–12 days after immunisation 
  • Rubella component - fever, rash, swollen glands 2-4 weeks after immunisation

See section 12.5.1 and 12.5.5 of the Immunisation Handbook to support conversations https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/immunisation-handbook-2020/12-measles.

 

Important reminder during conversations:

It is imperative to check whether the mother received any immunosuppressive treatment during pregnancy before administering a live vaccine (rotavirus, BCG, MMR, VV) to an infant aged under 12 months. 

In recent years there has been rapid development of targeted immunomodulatory biologic agents, and an increasing number of pregnant women are receiving such therapies. 

Common examples include adalimumab, infliximab and rituximab.  For infants under 12 months please discuss immunomodulatory therapies taken during pregnancy with the infant's mother or specialist, or contact 0800 IMMUNE before the administration of RV, BCG, MMR or VV vaccines.

 

·      For clinical advice about MMR vaccination, call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)

·      You can also get quick access to all of our up-to-date measles resources on our website here