Adult measles vaccination program

An adult measles vaccination program is available for Western Australians born after 1965 who have not already received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine.

Why was the program introduced?

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 the 36 infections, nearly three-quarters (73%) occurred among people aged 20 to 49 years of age.

Why is the vaccine available to those born after 1965?

The program addresses an important gap in the community's protection against measles. People born before 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) vaccination through the National Immunisation Program.

Who should receive the vaccine?

Adults born after 1965 who have not already received two documented doses of a measles-containing vaccine should receive the vaccine. Particularly those who are:

  • planning to travel overseas – naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for approximately 20 years but occasional cases and small outbreaks still occur, usually associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas. Measles is common in many overseas countries and cases have been increasing worldwide, so it is particularly important for people to receive the vaccine before travelling overseas as they are at increased risk of infection.
  • planning to get pregnant – pregnant women and their babies are at increased risk of complications from measles infection such as miscarriage, early labour and stillbirth. To protect themselves and their baby, women should get vaccinated against measles at least 4 weeks before trying to get pregnant.
What if my patient is not sure about their vaccination history?

Serology is not recommended for people who are not sure if they have had two doses of measles vaccine. Instead, it is recommended that they receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine, at least a month apart.

This is a live vaccine, so please adhere to the principles of administering a live vaccine e.g. do not administer to certain groups, such as those with lowered immunity, due to immunocompromising conditions, or current treatment, or pregnant women. See table from the Australian Immunisation Handbook (external site).

Where do I record that I have administered the vaccine?

All vaccinations, including for this program, should be recorded on your clinic records and also on the Australian Immunisation Register.

Where can adults receive this vaccine?

Eligible adults can receive this vaccine from their GP, Aboriginal Medical Service, travel clinic or community health immunisation clinics.

The service search can be used to find immunisation locations.

Are there costs involved?

The vaccine is provided for free through the State-funded adult measles vaccination program.

Where can I order the vaccine?
You must be a registered immunisation provider in WA to order government-funded vaccines in accordance with the WA Immunisation Schedule. Please see Vaccine Ordering for more information on how to become a WA Health Immunisation Service Provider and how to order vaccines.
Last reviewed: 11-11-2021
Produced by

Communicable Disease Control Directorate