Protecting More Victorians From Measles

Victorians will be better protected from the deadly threat of measles thanks to a suite of vaccination reforms being introduced by the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccination would soon be accessible just by visiting the local pharmacy – without the need to first visit a doctor.

It’s the latest key vaccination Victorians will be able to access at their local pharmacy, after the Labor Government made the flu shot and whooping cough vaccine available in 2016. More than 87 per cent of Victorians live within two-and-a-half kilometres of a pharmacy.

Vaccinations at pharmacies have been so successful that the Labor Government will soon make it available to more Victorians – lowering the eligible age from 18 to 16.

The Labor Government will also introduce a measles vaccination blitz, so that eligible adult Victorians who need the vaccination most will be able to get the vaccine free of charge from a pharmacy – or other immunisation providers.  As with other pharmacist vaccinations, while the vaccine will be free, a small service charge may apply.

While most Victorians born prior to 1966 are considered immune to measles, those born later require two doses of the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccination to be adequately protected.

Most younger Victorians received their vaccinations at school or as part of their childhood immunisation schedule, but many adult Victorians – especially those born between the late 1960s and 1980s – remain unvaccinated or only partially immune.

Measles can also spread rapidly if unvaccinated travellers import the disease from overseas trips to places such as Bali, where measles is common.

More than 42,000 Victorians have accessed the flu and whooping cough shots at their local pharmacy since the Labor Government introduced the program in 2016 at more than 350 pharmacies across the state.

The Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program was cruelly axed by the former Liberal Government, before being reintroduced by the Labor Government in 2015. Its return saw the number of whooping cough cases drop by more than 50 per cent in two years.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We’re making the measles vaccination available at pharmacies, making it free for those who need it most, and ensuring younger Victorians can get the vaccinations they need – without needing an appointment with a GP.”

“Nearly 90 per cent of us live just a short walk or drive from a pharmacy, so this will make getting vaccinated against the measles just as easy as the flu or whooping cough.”

“The Liberals cruelly axed the parents’ whooping cough vaccination – they cut a billion dollars from health when they were last in Government, and they’ll do it again if they get the chance.”