Thu, 06/13/2019 | News

Updated information on measles vaccination in Australia

Updated 13/6/2019
International measles update

Provisional global measles surveillance data released on 15 April 2019 on the World Health Organization (WHO) website show that measles cases have continued to climb in 2019. 

The WHO has said that reported measles cases rose by 300 per cent in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. The data indicate a clear trend: many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases. 

Australian measles update

Australia has also experienced an increase in reported measles cases in 2019, with the year to date total already close to surpassing the 2018 full year total. This increase in cases is due to the importation of measles via international travel from those countries experiencing outbreaks. 

Measles vaccination recommendations

The Australian Immunisation Handbook provides the following recommendations regarding measles vaccination:  

  • All children aged ≥12 months are recommended to receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine (at 12 and 18 months schedule points). 
  • Infants as young as 6 months old can receive MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine ahead of travel to highly endemic areas and during outbreaks.
  • Adolescents and adults born during or since 1966 are recommended to have received 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine (confirm your vaccination history). 
  • Travellers are strongly recommended to ensure they have received 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine before travel.
  • If it is uncertain whether a person has either a history of natural measles immunity or received 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine, they can safely receive MMR vaccine without serological testing.  

For more detailed information, consult the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

State and territory resources

ACT – ACT Health – Measles Factsheet, ACT Pathology – Measles Factsheet
NSW – NSW Health – Measles is about. Get vaccinated!
NT – NT.GOV.AU - Measles vaccination
QLD – QLD Government - Measles
SA – SA Health - Measles for health professionals
VIC – health.vic Measles
TAS – Tasmanian government Immunisation
WA – WA Health - Infectious diseases

Other resources 

NCIRS MMR decision aid
This decision aid is designed to help parents/carers decide whether to immunise their child with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The SKAI website for parents has easy-to-understand information to answer questions about immunisation.

Newly available from 13/6/2019 - Measles vaccination catch-up guide
This guide was developed by NCIRS to assist immunisation providers with decisions regarding measles vaccination catch-up for the Australian community.

View and download the measles vaccination catch-up guide for Australian immunisation providers here.

NCIRS Measles vaccination catch-up guide for immunisation providers13062019