My doctor told me to wait to immunise my baby. A friend's doctor booked in her 8-month-old without question. Beck Vass asks, who's advice is right?
Like many New Zealand parents with children under 1, I am currently living with measles paranoia.
I'm not sharing an opinion on vaccinating versus not, there's enough of that out there and most of it is very ugly and very unhelpful.
What I am concerned about is the inconsistent messaging families seem to be getting around measles. It's compounding people's fears.
READ MORE: • Measles outbreak: Auckland mum's fears for baby
Some doctors' practices and schools have released information to families under their care - others have received nothing at all.
Some District Health Boards seem to have easy access information. Under others it's harder to find.
There's advice for Aucklanders, where the majority of cases are at present.
They're telling us not to go to Auckland, but then they're bringing a heap of Aucklanders here to Tauranga for the AIMS Games this week.
My doctor assures me there has been a lot more communication going on to participants in the AIMS Games that the community at large isn't seeing, which provided some comfort.
The Ministry of Health could have communicated this to the public a bit better and may have alleviated some fears.
The poor nurse at my doctors' practice in Tauranga had been inundated with calls the day I rang for information.
Our older children, 6 and 4, are immunised and considered immune to measles because they had their MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) injections at the recommended ages of 15 months and 4 years.
It's our 11-month-old baby I am more concerned about. Should I be getting him immunised earlier?
I was told they can do it earlier, from six months, but only after he's seen by our doctor. I was told if he was vaccinated early he would still need the two vaccines at the scheduled times (15 months and 4 years).
I went to my doctor and she advised waiting at least four weeks until he was one, while also waiting to see how much measles spreads locally and reassessing based on that.
Another local friend rang and booked her 8-month-old's MMR jab with no questions asked.
(Go and see your own doctor, the advice will be different depending on your individual circumstances).
Then, I looked up my own records from my Plunket book which Mum gave me.
It appears I had my first measles vaccine at 11-months-old.
There is no record of a second one, although I am adamant I received MMR, aged 11.
My Mum, usually meticulous with this stuff, may have forgotten to write it in my book.
I remember it because I'd already had mumps and rubella when I was younger. I was sure the needle I received was just for the girls in 1991, when I was Form One.
Other friends around the same age received MMR at school, with notes in their Plunket book saying "girls only, at school".
Two years later, another friend remembers being among the first year when boys also received MMR.
But we're relying on memories from almost 30 years ago.
The nurse at my doctor's said if I'd had my first measles vaccine before I was one, as many New Zealanders will have, it was considered non-effective.
Several of my friends have a record of being 12 months or less also.
For all my concerns about the risks my baby could encounter, it is me who could be exposing him the most. But we don't really know.
The vaccine schedule appears to change every couple of years. Even in the almost seven years I have had children, my second two received Rotavirus vaccinations our first did not get, and our third child gets the Chicken Pox vaccine that the first two didn't get.
It seems bizarre we don't have a more formal memory of this stuff, but thankfully with advances in technology, we now have a National Immunisation Register which will clear this stuff up so future generations don't have these questions.
My doctor tried to check my Measles immunity, which I was going to pay for but the Path Lab refused, saying that service was being saved for those who need it most. Fair enough.
The Ministry's advice around this does seem to cover this off: If you are an adult aged up to 50 with no record of vaccination, go and get your jab.
Mine is booked for this Wednesday.