The Ministry of Health is advising people travelling overseas (to any destination) to make sure they are fully immunised against measles before they go. While cases in New Zealand are rare because endemic measles has been eliminated here, the disease is regularly brought into the country through international travel. There are currently significant measles outbreaks overseas including in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Somalia. For countries that are affected, please check the CDC website for information on global outbreaks: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/measles/data/global-measles-outbreaks.html
Measles is very infectious! Even if not travelling to a country currently listed as having a measles outbreak, you may be exposed to an infected person at international terminals or during travel.
If there is not enough time before you travel to complete the recommended two doses, having even one MMR vaccination before you leave New Zealand will substantially reduce your (or your child’s) risk of getting infected.
Children who have not yet been immunised are at greatest risk of the disease and the Ministry of Health recommends that infants aged 6-11 months travelling to countries with significant measles outbreaks be given MMR vaccine before their travel. While measles immunisation is usually given at age 12 months and 15 months in New Zealand, the MMR vaccine can be given to children as young as 6 months. Because the vaccine's effectiveness is lower for babies under 12 months of age, if they are given the vaccine, they will still need two further doses of the vaccine at 12 months and 15 months for long-term protection. Two doses of MMR vaccine give long-lasting protection to at least 98 percent of people. MMR vaccination is free.
Many teenagers and young adults have missed one or both doses of the vaccine, and may be unaware that they are not immune. People who aren’t sure whether they are up to date with all their scheduled immunisations can check with their general practice, or in their Well Child Tamariki Ora health book. For those who are not sure whether they have had both recommended doses, there are no additional safety issues with inadvertently having a third dose so it is important that this dose is documented.
- See the Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories travel advisory
- See the Ukraine travel advisory
- See the Kazakhstan travel advisory
- See the Moldova travel advisory
- See the Colombia travel advisory
- See the Brazil travel advisory
- See the Democratic Republic of the Congo travel advisory
- See the United Kingdom travel advisory
- See the France travel advisory
- See the Greece travel advisory
- See the Italy travel advisory
- See the Indonesia travel advisory
- See the Philippines travel advisory
- See the Romania travel advisory
- See the Serbia travel advisory
- See the India travel advisory
- See the Pakistan travel advisory
- See the Afghanistan travel advisory
- See the Cameroon travel advisory
- See the Ethiopia travel advisory
- See the Somalia travel advisory
Reviewed:12 Jun 2023, 15:50
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