Immunisations for rangatahi (teenagers and young adults)
For best protection, rangatahi (young adults) should be up to date with measles, HPV, and meningococcal vaccines. Meningococcal immunisation is especially important if rangatahi are going to live closely with lots of other people – like in boarding school hostels or halls of residence.
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine
Many adults and rangatahi (young people) born between 1989 and 2004 in New Zealand were not vaccinated against measles.
Aotearoa is at very high risk of a measles outbreak. It’s not too late to get protected.
To check whether you have been vaccinated, contact your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.
If you’re unable to find out if you have been vaccinated, it’s recommended you get vaccinated as soon as possible. There’s no additional risk in getting extra MMR doses – it’s important to know you’ve had 2 doses.
The MMR vaccine is free for:
- everyone aged 18 years old and under (it does not matter what their visa or citizenship status is) and
- those eligible for free healthcare in New Zealand.
About measles and the vaccine
We know that measles is actually really really contagious.
If one person is infected, you can actually spread it to around 15 to 18 people and it's not a nice disease to have it can make you feel really sick and awful.
Quite often people can end up in hospital because they're so sick and unwell from the infection.
There is no real good treatment to be honest, so the best thing that you
can do is actually get vaccinated so you get your body ready to fight off the infection.
If you're all protected, so if I'm vaccinated, every one of my family is vaccinated and someone comes to the house and they've got measles or mumps they actually don't pass it on to us, because the vaccine has actually helped protect us from actually getting the measles, or if we do get it we fight off so well that we don't spread it around we don't give it to other people.
How does the measles vaccine work? What are the side effects?
The vaccine which protects us against measles comes in a combination it's called the MMR.
So measles, mumps, rubella so you actually get protected against 3 different diseases at the same time, which is great news.
MMR vaccine is supposed to stimulate your body to be able to fight off infection if it sees the disease in real-time and so that potentially means that you can have some of those side effects that occur when you are vaccinated.
Getting a temperature that you may actually get a rash afterwards for the vaccine that's actually quite common.
Some people might find their glands actually go up after having the vaccine and some people they can have a little bit of an achy body.
For some people the symptoms may occur in the first few hours, for others it can occur up to a week or two weeks later, but actually they stay well with it, so despite having some mild side effects they actually stay very well.
What should I do if I'm not sure if I have had a measles vaccine?
So if you're not sure if you're vaccinated or not then just talk to your GP or GP nurse, they'll be able to look it up on their system.
Sometimes you may have had your childhood imms book. We can have a look through there and see if you've had the full vaccinations because you only need 2 doses to be fully vaccinated.
But even if we're not sure, if we can't find the records or we think you might be partially vaccinated. It actually does you no harm to have an extra vaccination.
For best protection, rangatahi should be up to date with both MenACWY and MenB vaccinations. You can get immunised again if your last meningococcal vaccinations were more than 5 years ago.
These vaccines can be booked with your doctor or pharmacy. Ther are free for some people, and you can pay if you do not meet the criteria.
Rangatahi aged 13 to 25 years old living in close-living situations can get free meningococcal B vaccines until 28 February 2024.
Close-living situations include boarding schools, hostels, halls of residence, military barracks, and prisons.
Rangatahi aged 13 to 25 years who are entering into, or in their first year of certain close-living situations, can get a free meningococcal A, C, W, and Y (MenACWY) vaccine.
[Abbie] My name is Abbie, I'm 18 years old and next year I'm going to be heading off to the University of Canterbury and I'm doing a Bachelor of Science where I'm going to major in medicinal chemistry.
[Jayden] My name is Jayden and I'm 17 years old. I'm heading up to the University of Auckland next year to study engineering. Just last week I got the meningococcal vaccine to protect myself.
My medical centre emailed advertising about it that it was government funded, so I decided to get it.
The email advertised it as a good protection for staying in a hall of residence where there's so many people in a confined space.
[Abi] I had the meningococcal vaccine early last week I learned that meningitis can actually be quite dangerous and can come really bad, really quickly. [Jayden] It didn't hurt at all I just got the vaccine a sore arm for a couple days but that's just the normal.
[Abi] I've got all my childhood vaccines from very young to now so for me this is just another vaccine I need to get to protect me against another disease.
HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
If you were not immunised against HPV as a child, you can get free vaccination until you turn 27 years old.
You will need 3 doses, given over 6 months.
If you’ve been vaccinated against HPV you do not need any additional doses when you’re an adult.
You can pay for the HPV vaccine until you turn 45 years old. For people aged 28 to 45 it can cost approximately $240 per dose — you need 3 doses.
If you’re travelling overseas
If you’re travelling overseas, you should check you’re up to date with routine vaccinations – in particular measles, hepatitis B, and tetanus.
Depending on where you are travelling to, you may also need to be immunised against other diseases such as yellow fever, rabies, cholera, hep A and typhoid.
Before travelling, check with your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider to see if extra vaccinations are needed for the areas you’re travelling to. There will be a cost for these. You can also check the following websites: