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Free measles vaccines for adults

26 March 2019

A new adult vaccination program has been announced for Western Australians born in or after 1966 who have not already received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine.

Young backpacking couple

The number of measles cases in WA has been increasing in recent years, with 36 reported in 2018 – the highest figure since 2014 when 44 measles cases were confirmed.

Of those 36 infections last year, nearly three-quarters (73%) occurred among people aged 20 to 49 years of age. So far, 13 cases have been reported in 2019.

The program addresses an important gap in the community’s protection against measles, as people born prior to 1966 are usually immune to measles due to having the illness as a child and people 19 years of age and younger are already eligible for free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine through the National Immunisation Program.

Naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for approximately 20 years but occasional cases and small outbreaks still occur – associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas.

Adults born during or after 1966 are requested to check that they have had two documented doses of a measles vaccine at some stage in their life, especially if they plan to travel overseas.

People who are not sure if they have had two doses of measles vaccine, should see their doctor, immunisation provider or travel health immunisation clinic for the free vaccine. While the vaccine is free, there may be a fee for the consultation.

Parents are also urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations on schedule at 12 and 18 months of age.

Learn more about the MMR vaccine.