Measles vaccine is FREE and available NOW  


16 March 2021


It’s been a difficult year for many, with increased anxiety about infectious diseases and how to keep healthy.


While the COVID-19 vaccine begins to be rolled-out across Aotearoa, immunisation is available for measles right now – a disease which is eight times more contagious than coronavirus.


Measles vaccines are available across our region and Whanganui Regional Health Network immunisation coordinator Sue Hina says it is crucial to keep up to date with immunisations.


“Measles is one of the most infectious diseases for humans - many people don’t realise the measles virus can survive for up to two hours in the air. It is a serious disease that can make you very sick.


“In 2019, New Zealand had an outbreak with more than 2000 people infected with measles - 700 of those had to go to hospital.”


Mrs Hina says the best protection against measles, mumps and rubella is two doses of MMR vaccine - the second dose is given four weeks after the first and there are no safety concerns with having extra doses.


“Getting immunised is easy and free. Two doses of MMR protects 99% of people against measles and rubella, and around 85% of people from mumps.


“A small number of people who are immunised may still get the disease. If that happens, they don’t usually get as sick as people who have not been immunised.”


Mrs Hina says many teenagers and young adults in the Whanganui region missed out on measles, mumps and rubella immunisations as children.


“They may not be fully protected from these diseases, so double check with your health professional and get up to date to make sure you or your child has had two doses of MMR.”


 Where to go for immunisation:

  • GP clinics (ask your practice nurse for a free vaccine).
  • Schools via the free MMR school programme (ask your health nurse).
  • If you’re 16 or older, free immunisation is also available at some pharmacies in Whanganui (visit Unichem, Central City Pharmacy or Countdown Pharmacy).