Northern Territory Minister for Health Natasha Fyles
Free Measles Vaccine Available At 9 Months Old
Victor P Taffa
Northern Territory babies can now receive the free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at 9 months of age instead of 12, as measles cases in the Darwin-Palmerston area continue to rise.
“Territory Government is providing Territorians with access to quality health care, and we have responded to the recent measles outbreak by offering the free MMR vaccine earlier to babies.” Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles said.
“Best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to make sure you all have immunity. If you have very young infants, make sure the people they spend time with have immunity too.
There have been 23 recorded cases of measles since mid-February. As part of its response to the outbreak, and to minimise the risk to unvaccinated infants, the Northern Territory Government has lowered the age at which the MMR vaccine can be given.
Any infant who receives the vaccine at 9 months will need follow-up vaccines at 12 months and 18 months of age.
Measles is a very contagious illness spread through coughing and sneezing. One third of people infected experience complications and, of the 23 cases recorded in this recent outbreak, several have ended up in hospital.
Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is urging Territorians to check their immunity and get a booster if they are unsure.
You are immune if you:
- Have previously had measles
- Have had 2 doses of the measles-containing vaccine, known as the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Were born before 1966 (as you have most likely had measles and are considered immune).
Parents can get their baby immunised at their local Community Care Centre or GP. While the vaccine itself is free, GP’s who do not bulk bill may charge a consultation fee.