Measles is a very contagious viral infection that causes a rash and fever. It can be a serious disease that needs hospital treatment and can cause death.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from measles.
Who should get vaccinated against measles
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against measles can talk to their vaccination provider about getting vaccinated.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends measles vaccination for specific groups including:
- children 12 months old
- adolescents and adults born during or since 1966 who have not received 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine, particularly
- healthcare workers
- childhood educators and carers
- people who work in long-term care facilities
- people who work in correctional facilities
Measles combination vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for children aged 12 months and 18 months.
Eligible people under 20 years old and refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get a free catch-up vaccination. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood and are recommended to receive the vaccine.
Measles vaccines should not be given to:
- people who have had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any measles vaccine
- people who have had anaphylaxis after any component of a measles vaccine
- Pregnant women
- People who are immunocompromised.
Note measles vaccines contain a small amount of the live virus. Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons. Discuss with your vaccination provider for further information.
Read more about Getting vaccinated.
How to get vaccinated against measles
Measles vaccines only come as a combination vaccine that also protects against mumps and rubella (MMR) or mumps, rubella and varicella (MRV). It is given as a needle, usually in the upper arm.
Measles vaccines include:
*Indicates National Immunisation Program vaccine.
Your vaccination provider will tell you which vaccine they will give you.
Find product information and consumer medicine information for each available vaccine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Where to get vaccinated
You can get your vaccine from a range of vaccination providers. Find out where and more about your vaccination visit at getting vaccinated.
Possible side effects of measles vaccination
You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.
Common side effects of measles vaccines include:
- occasionally an injection-site lump (may last many weeks - no treatment needed)
Seen 7–10 days after vaccination:
- fever lasting 2–3 days, faint red rash (not infectious), head cold and/or runny nose, cough and/or puffy eyes
- drowsiness or tiredness
- swelling of salivary glands.
Talk to your vaccination provider about possible side effects of measles vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.
The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.
Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.