Hawke's Bay health officials are supporting a national health advisory urging parents of babies who are travelling to Auckland to have their first measles vaccine three months earlier.

Medical officer of health, Dr Rachel Eyre, said given the measles outbreak in Auckland, providing the first Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination for babies at 12 months instead of at the usual 15 months would help protect vulnerable infants travelling to Auckland from the measles infection.

It is on par with advice from the Ministry of Health.

"Immunisation should be done at least two weeks before travelling to allow their immunity to develop."

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Eyre said immunisation is the best protection against measles and all people should check their immunisation status. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95 per cent of people are protected.

Symptoms
The first early signs of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough. After three to five days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.

What to do if you suspect you or a family member has measles
Please stay at home and phone your doctor. Let them make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people. You can also call Healthline for free advice on 0800 611-116.

MMR vaccine protection
•Babies who will be travelling to Auckland, or who are living in Auckland, can now get their first MMR vaccine at 12 months, instead of the usual 15 months.

•Two doses of the vaccine provides the most effective protection for individuals, their families and the wider community. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95 per cent of people are protected from measles. After two doses, more than 99 per cent people are protected.
•If you were born in 1969 or later, you can get the measles vaccine for free.
•Older children and adults aged up to 50 years who have no documented evidence of immunisation against measles are recommended to get immunised. If unsure, please check with your doctor.
•Almost everyone aged 50 or older who have had measles as a child is immune. Teenagers and young adults are least likely to have been immunised as young children.
Parents of children who cannot get immunised are advised to visit the Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz