Why get immunised against measles?

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.

By getting vaccinated against measles, you can also help protect other people, especially people who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Who should get immunised against measles?

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against measles can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.

Measles immunisation is recommended for:

  • children aged 12 months and 18 months, for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  • anyone born during or since 1966 and has not had two doses of the measles vaccine
  • healthcare workers, if they have not had two doses of the measles vaccine
  • people working in early childhood education and care, if they have not had two doses of the vaccine
  • people working in long-term care or other residential facilities, if they have not had two doses of the vaccine
  • people who are travelling overseas, if they have not had two doses of the vaccine.

People under 20 years old, refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age, can get measles vaccines for free under the NIP. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood. This is called catch-up vaccination.

Where can you get the measles immunisation?

Measles immunisations are available in each Australian state and territory.

See Where can I get immunised? for information.

How do you get immunised against measles?

You can only get measles vaccine as a combination vaccine. They are all given as a needle.

Measles vaccines include:

Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your measles immunisation.

Do I need to pay for measles immunisation?

Vaccines covered by the NIP are free for people who are eligible. See the NIP Schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive.

Eligible people get the vaccine for free, but your health care provider (for example, your doctor) may charge a consultation fee for the visit. You can check this when you make your appointment.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you may need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.

What are the possible side effects of measles immunisation?

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they’re not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of measles vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.

Common side effects of measles vaccines include:

  • fever
  • mild rash
  • feeling unwell

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against measles? list the side effects of each vaccine.

More information


If you need advice or more information about immunisation, go to our Immunisation contacts page.

Last updated: 
11 December 2017