Measles in Bay of Plenty

New MMR vaccination policy for Bay of Plenty


On October 21, 2011 the Bay of Plenty District Health Board announced that in a bid to control measles in its area, it was changing the recommendations for the ages at which children receive the controversial MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.  For years, the Ministry of Health recommendation has been for children to receive their first dose of MMR vaccine at the age of 15 months, followed by a second dose at the age of four years.

However, in press release last Friday Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack has said that babies can now receive their first dose of MMR vaccine at the age of twelve months and that “Once a baby has the vaccine at 12 months of age, the second dose of MMR vaccine can be given 28 days later.” (See: )


Possible health risks from new policy

Many parents will be aware that the MMR vaccine is controversial due to research linking it to regressive autism and bowel disease. (See:  (A chronic infection in the bowel from the attenuated (weakened) live measles viruses from the MMR vaccine appears to be the trigger for the condition in some vaccine recipients.)

After one dose of MMR vaccine over 90% of recipients develop an antibody response consistent with protection from the disease, according to IMAC (See  )

It therefore appears that a a second dose of MMR vaccine may be unnecessary for most people.

Lowering the age of a baby’s first vaccination with MMR to twelve months and then giving a second dose 28 days later may be more likely to cause side effects than the usual schedule of giving the first dose of MMR vaccine at 15 months and a second dose at age four years.  There is some evidence that being vaccinated with the MMR at a younger age (under the age of three years) is associated with increased risk of regressive autism.  (See:  Two doses of MMR vaccine before a baby is  even 14 months old could theoretically put a child at a higher risk of developing this devastating condition.

Secondly, according to the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine most commonly used in NZ some MMR vaccine recipients may still have  the vaccine-strain rubella viruses in their nose and throat as late as 28 days after receiving an MMR vaccination.  It is possible that giving a second dose of the vaccine to a baby who may only just have mounted an effective immune response to the live viruses in the first dose of MMR vaccine could severely stress the baby’s immune system.  It is conceivable that babies vaccinated according to this schedule could  potentially be more vulnerable to developing a chronic infection with the vaccine strain of the  measles virus.

Information about measles and the MMR vaccine

If you are a parent who is looking for information about measles, treatments for measles and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)  vaccine, you may like to visit the site and read the article titled “What’s worse? Measles or the Vaccine?”, as well as reading the datasheet for the vaccine which may be downloaded from this link:  (The MMR vaccine usually used in NZ is called MMR-II (TM)).

The letter to the principal of Oratia School at this link  also includes information about treatments for measles.

Information for people facing discrimination because of their  vaccination status

If you are a parent whose child has been barred from school due to his or her having had one dose of MMR vaccine (or none) instead of the two doses on the NZ vaccination schedule, and want to know your rights in this situation you can contact the site coordinator for No Forced Vaccines through the Contact form.  Adults born after 1969 who are not vaccinated according to MMR recommendations who may have been advised that they cannot attend work may also contact the site coordinator through the Contact form.