What you need to know about Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that is spread via respiratory droplets. Measles begins with cold-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes), followed by a red blotchy rash a few days later.

Measles containing vaccine is recommended for:

  • Children 12 and 18 months of age (as part of the national immunisation program for children)
  • Anyone who has not received TWO measles vaccines
  • Women planning pregnancy or after the birth of their child (but not currently pregnant women)
  • People who identify as either Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander
  • Refugees and asylum seekers
  • Travellers.

Since the early 1990s, two doses of measles vaccine have been a part of the National Immunisation Program for children. Prior to this only one dose was offered. 

People born during or after 1966 may not have had two measles vaccinations – if you are unsure if you have had two vaccinations and lack this documentation, it is recommended to have a measles vaccine.

Get vaccinated to avoid measles! A person who receives the recommended 2 doses of the measles vaccine has 99% immunity against the measles infection (note: if you have been infected with measles, you will usually have lifelong immunity).  

It is estimated that a single person with measles will infect 9 out of 10 people they contact who are not immunised or immune to measles. Measles can be serious and fatal. Luckily measles is rare in Australia due to the national immunisation program, however it is important to continue to immunise individuals as the infection can be brought into Australia from overseas and cause outbreaks. 

If you think you may have measles:

  • Call before attending/entering any health care facility (pharmacy, medical clinic or hospital) and tell them you think you have measles so appropriate steps can be taken to avoid contact with other people. 
  • Wear a mask – you may be given a mask and put in a separate area before the health professional sees you. 
  • Use the Drive Thru window at our View Street Pharmacy to minimise contact with other people.