When should measles immunisation be given?

The first dose of measles vaccine is given at 9 months. This is followed by a second (booster) dose at 18 months.

Antibodies from the mother usually protect the infant against measles during the first few months of life. During this time measles vaccine is often ineffective as the vaccine virus may be killed by the maternal antibodies.

Unfortunately, infants often get infected with measles when they come into contact with other children at health clinics, out patient departments or in hospital wards. Any infant of 9 months or more who visits a clinic or hospital and does not have measles immunisation documented on their Road-to-Health Card should immediately be given a dose of measles vaccine.

During an epidemic of measles, if many young infants are contracting the infection, measles immunisation is sometimes given at 6 months and then repeated at 9 months to offer some protection to infants between 6 and 9 months. Measles immunisation is usually ineffective before 6 months.

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