Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. It’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 so spreads fast. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading measles.

Click here to find a vaccination centre near you

What is measles?

Measles is a viral illness that causes a skin rash, red eyes, runny nose, cough and fever. The virus spreads easily through the air by sneezing or coughing.

  • Measles is easily spread – just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immunised. One person with measles can pass on the disease to up to 18 other people who have not been immunised.
  • Measles can cause serious complications including diarrhoea, ear infections, pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). About 1 in 10 people with measles will need hospital admission.
  • Measles infection can cause the immune system to forget how to properly protect you from other infections for up to three years (immune amnesia).
  • Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, early labour and low birth weight babies.
  • A person with measles is infectious from five days before and until five days after the rash appears (about 10 days in total). During this time, the infected person needs to stay away from other people (including whānau, school and work).

Who is at risk of getting measles?

Anyone who has not been vaccinated against measles or has not had measles before is at risk of being infected.

Those most at risk of getting measles include:

  • Babies who are too young to be vaccinated
  • People travelling in countries/regions where there is a current measles outbreak
  • People born overseas in countries where appropriate vaccination is less likely

People who are at increased risk of severe complications from measles:

  • Anyone with a chronic illness or a weakened immune system
  • Children younger than 5 years of age

Who is immune?

Who is considered to be immune to measles?

  • If you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine (this will be recorded in your Well Child/Tamariki Ora or Plunket Book or with your GP)
  • If you have had measles previously
  • If you were born before 1969 – measles was common at this time and circulating widely prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1969

Why is immunisation with the MMR vaccine so important?

The measles immunisation is called MMR. It helps protect you against three serious diseases: measles, mumps and rubella. In 2019, New Zealand had a measles outbreak and more than 2,000 people got measles. 700 had to go to hospital. Māori and Pacific peoples were particularly affected.

Measles is only a plane-ride away – measles is still common in many countries. People can bring it into New Zealand without knowing. You can also be exposed by travelling to certain overseas countries.

Not sure if you’re already immunised against measles?

Lots of people didn’t get fully immunised when they were children, which puts them at risk of catching and spreading measles.

You can ask your doctor, parent or caregiver if you had two doses of the MMR vaccine as a child. If you don’t know, it is best to get immunised. It is safe to have an extra dose of the MMR vaccine.

MMR vaccine

What is in the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is made up of small amounts of the weakened forms of the measles, mumps and rubella germs. These trigger your immune system to make antibodies to fight the germs.

The MMR vaccine has a few other ingredients to keep it stable. These ingredients are found in tiny amounts and are also found in common foods and drinks.

How does the MMR vaccine work?

The MMR vaccine works by helping your body to make antibodies that fight measles. When you have had the MMR vaccine, your immune system will fight the measles virus if you come into contact with it for real.

The MMR vaccine protects you – and those around you from getting sick or spreading measles.

How is the MMR vaccine given?

The MMR vaccine is given as an intramuscular injection (injected into a muscle in your thigh or upper arm).

The MMR vaccine is FREE for all children from 12 months of age and adults born on/after 1 January 1969, who have not completed a two-dose course of MMR vaccine.

The MMR vaccine is part of the national childhood immunisation schedule for children, and is given at 12 months and 15 months of age.

How safe is the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine has an excellent safety record and has been used in New Zealand since 1990.
The MMR vaccine is very effective. Just one dose of MMR gives you a 95% chance of being protected against measles, two doses increases this to 99%.

A small number of people who are fully immunised may still get sick. But they usually get a milder illness than people who haven’t been immunised.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Most side effects are mild and do not last very long. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will talk about the possible side effects with you at the time of immunisation.

Some people can get a mild response between five and 12 days after immunisation, like a mild fever, a rash or swollen glands.

Other mild reactions that can occur include:

  • Headache
  • A slight fever (feeling hot)
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Fainting or feeling faint (eating beforehand helps with this)
  • Generally feeling a bit unwell

The chance of having a serious side effect from the MMR vaccine is extremely rare and would happen within 20 minutes of being immunised. This is why you will be asked to stay for 20 minutes after you have the MMR vaccine. If a severe allergic reaction occurs, the vaccinator will be able to treat this effectively.

Who can’t be immunised with the MMR vaccine?

There are very few people who can not be immunised.

Talk with your health professional if:

  • You have had a serious reaction to a vaccine in the past
  • You are being treated for cancer or a serious illness
  • You have had a blood transfusion in the last year
  • You are pregnant
  • You have had another live vaccine within the past four weeks
  • You have a severe weakness of your immune system.

Where can I get a free MMR vaccine?

  • Your general practice (GP)
  • Participating community pharmacies (no appointment needed) – click here to find one near you
  • New Plymouth Vaccination Centre – Baker Tilly, 109 Powderham Street (no appointment needed)
  • Hāwera Vaccination Centre – TSB Hub, Camberwell Road (no appointment needed)
  • Pop-up community vaccination clinics – click here and check out Te Whatu Ora – Taranaki social media pages, WITT, and local Māori health providers for further details.
  • Taranaki businesses via occupational health staff (employees only)

Where can I go for more information?

Changes to eligibility for free COVID-19 healthcare

From 13 February, you may need to pay for COVID-19-related visits to your healthcare provider.

If you are at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19 you will still get free healthcare.

With the Omicron variant circulating, most people can recover at home. This is due to very high vaccination levels and widespread natural immunity.

Additionally, with easy access to testing and self-isolation, we can focus on those who are more vulnerable.

People eligible for free healthcare

If you are at higher risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19, you are still eligible for free healthcare from your doctor.

This protects those who are most at risk of getting very ill from COVID-19, including:

  • people with certain high-risk medical conditions
  • Māori
  • Pacific peoples
  • some disabled people
  • those over the age of 65
  • anyone else that meets the criteria for access to antiviral medicines.

High-risk medical conditions

Who can get antivirals

If you have COVID-19

If you are isolating at home, you should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you need advice or guidance on managing your symptoms.

You can also contact your local pharmacist or your healthcare provider if you need to see someone.

If you require hospital-level care, it remains free.

If you have COVID-19

Testing and vaccination remain free

Free rapid antigen tests (RATs) are available for everyone from participating collection centres.

How to get a RAT

Vaccinations are free and available at health providers and pharmacies.

COVID-19 vaccines

The best ways to continue to protect yourself and others are:

  • test when you are feeling unwell
  • being up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations
  • wearing a face mask.


Vivian Medical Centre December 2022
56 Vivian Street

New Plymouth

P: 06 758 5015



If you are an asthmatic and wanting support to manage your Asthma, please contact our team of nurses to arrange a review.  A random selection of patients will be called by Sue – our HCA and invited to an Asthma review appointment


Currently the ability to book appointments has been turned off in MMH.  You are still able to review results and request scripts etc


Scripts can be requested by either messaging MMH or emailing the practice –  Scripts will be processed within 2 working days from receipt of message with a cost of $16.  Urgent scripts can be requested but come at a cost of $23


We ask that you don’t email requests for appointments.  This could delay your opportunity for the next available appointment as emails only get reviewed periodically during the day


VMC will be open normal hours up to 23 December

28 – 30 December on day appointments only – skeleton staff

4 January back to normal hours

Closed Statutory days and weekends as usual with after hours services provided by Medicross and Practice Plus


We do have a place where you can feedback anything that relates to your experience here at VMC.  We appreciate feedback to know what we do well and what we could improve on.


All patients that have viral symptoms will remain to be seen in our Portacom.  A limited amount of appointments are available daily in the afternoon for this clinic.

Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. It’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 so spreads fast. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading measles.

Have a very safe and Merry Christmas break, enjoy catching up with friends and whanau over the festive season


Update from your Doctors, Nurses, and Reception team


Dr. Jacob Rasmussen and Practice Nurse Michelle Burgess

Over the last 8 months Dr. Steve Smith’s patients have been fortunate to have Dr. Jacob Rasmussen support his practice.  This has allowed Steve to continue his great work he does with the Black Ferns – building up to and participating at the Women’s Rugby World Cup.  (Congratulations Black Ferns)

Jacob has been in New Zealand with his wife and children for 18 months and will be returning to his homeland in Denmark at the end of his stint here at VMC.  Jacobs last day will be January 18 – we wish him well and hope to see him back in New Plymouth again one day soon.

Michelle Burgess joins the nursing team filling the vacancy on Clare Smileys retirement.  Michelle along with her whanau have relocated from Pahiatua.  Michelle has previously spent time in General Practice but more recently has worked at Taranaki Pathology and in Palliative Care and District Nursing services prior to moving to the region.

After Hours Services     

Medicross is our urgent care GP Clinic – if you require a face-to-face appointment in the weekend or are unable to get an appointment during the week you can attend – MediCross Urgent Care & GP Clinic – open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week for all urgent medical care, including Public Holidays.

Practice Plus – To avoid the wait at urgent GP Clinics why not try Practice Plus for any virtual consult option.  This service is available Monday – Friday 5pm – 10 pm and Saturday – Sunday 8am -8pm

Practice Plus Virtual Consultation effectiveness 89% effectively managed within consultation: – 3% referred onto secondary care or allied health; – 5% requiring a follow up GP visit for investigations or in person review – 2% of presentations were outside of scope for Practice Plus

Costs for these consults are:  $65 – 14yrs +, $55 – 13 years under and $19.50 for all CSC holders – Visit
Summer tips

From Dr. Rob Pascoe

With summer on the way its timely to remember it’s super important to be SunSmart every day.

UV levels here in Taranaki can be high enough to require sun smart behaviour from as early as 930am in the morning until 530pm.

We all need to slip, slop, slap and wrap every day.

Remember when slipping on sunscreen it should be at least SPF30, applied 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every 2 hours.

Check out for more details.

What’s in an appointment

Whether your consultation is in person or virtual the allotted time frame in the appointment book is 15 minutes.

The doctors in this time need to consult with you and gather all the necessary information and concerns, carry out a methodical examination and formulate an agreed plan, write succinct notes, order investigations, and potentially create a referral letter as well as reviewing previous notes and results.

The team endeavours to continue a high standard of care and respect throughout this process and dealing with multiple problems can certainly lead to an increased risk of error or feeling of dissatisfaction from both patient and practitioner.

We know your time is important and your health needs are our priority, but we also need the time to address them thoroughly and appropriately

What are we seeing in the practice at the moment

Update from Dr. Angela Lawson

Still some viruses about, including COVID-19. As a healthcare facility we do continue to ask you to keep wearing your masks if able to when being seen in our practice. This helps to protect the vulnerable newborns through to 95 year olds, as well as our team – so that we can continue to be there for you and your whanau.

If you or your whanau have cold/flu symptoms, we will continue to see you in “the Red Clinic”. You can get an appointment by ringing the team in the morning or early afternoon. The Red Clinic runs every afternoon out of the portacom out front of the clinic. It’s been set up well for this summer, with more privacy, and a new aircon unit that filters out viruses. When you arrive for the Red Clinic, please wait in your car, and we’ll come get you when it’s your turn. It’s helpful if you can let reception know that you’ve arrived.

COVID-19 Update

If you or your whanau members test positive for COVID-19 and have any concerns, you can still contact our team for free care. We do still assess every result we get for whether you are eligible for covid antivirals, so it is worth recording your result on the My Covid Record website, but if you’re having trouble, please just ring our team to access COVID care during normal working hours or The Covid Hub after hours, weekends and Statutory days .

Antiviral Medicine

Anti-viral medicines are available for free to any New Zealander 65 and over who tests positive for COVID-19. For Māori and Pacific peoples, these medicines will be available for free to anyone aged 40 and over. In addition, anyone with three high-risk conditions is eligible for free anti-viral medicines. Click here for more information on COVID-19 antiviral medicines eligibility.

If you think you qualify, please either:

1.      Call our clinic and a GP will do an assessment and make the necessary checks to ensure that the antiviral medicines are right for you. They will send the prescription to a pharmacy who will talk to you about the best way to get the medicines to you.

2.      Call a designated pharmacy – some people may be eligible for antiviral medicines without a prescription. The pharmacist will do an assessment and make the necessary checks to ensure that the antiviral medicines are right for you. Go to to find your nearest designated pharmacy.

3.      Call the COVID-19 Hub on 0508 436 374 if your GP or pharmacy is closed and you would like advice or assistance. The Covid Hub operates 24hrs (emergency calls only after 6pm) 7 days a week.

It is important that you call your GP or pharmacy first rather than visiting in person, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Remember, if you test positive, or are a household contact, isolation rules apply.

From the team here at Vivian Medical Centre we would like to thank you for your understanding and patience over the last 12 months – it has been a challenging 2022. 

We are on Facebook – visit and like our page “Vivian Medical Centre”






Winter is here, and as we know coughs, colds and flus are extremely common. We are seeing many people with colds and influenza which is putting pressure on the availability of semi-urgent or routine appointments. Coughs, colds and flus are usually caused by VIRAL infections of the nose & upper airways, and they affect most adults 2-4 times per year, kids 5-6 times and those in preschool up to 12 times a year!


Wearing a mask when you are in indoor spaces can help reduce the odds of you catching a virus from someone else.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine! From July 1 it is also free for children aged 3-12, and those with mental health or addiction concerns.

Healthy diet with plenty of vegetables

Good amounts of sleep and regular exercise


  • Stay at home
  • Do a Covid RAT test. These can be negative at the start of a Covid illness so if symptoms continue, you should re-RAT every 24-48 hours until you are better


  • Yellow or green snot does not mean bacterial infection or need for antibiotics
  • Having a cough does not mean that it has ‘gone to your chest’ or that you necessarily need antibiotics
  • If you are at risk of Strep throat (see please contact us for advice
  • Symptoms are typically at their worst for 2-3 days and then gradually clear. However, the cough may carry on after the infection has gone and last for 2-4 weeks as the inflammation gradually settles.


  • Have plenty to drink, rest and stopping smoking (If you are a current smoker)
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain
  • Salt (saline) nose drops for babies & vapour rubs for kids and adults can help with nasal congestion in some cases. Older kids and adults can use Otrivin for a few days to ease blocked noses and sinuses
  • Some people find other over the counter cough remedies from the pharmacy can help them manage their symptoms (note there is no evidence that these help particularly); please always discuss safe use with pharmacy
  • Honey before bed can ease a cough a little

If you need pharmacy medications please send someone who is well to get them for you. Sick people need to stay home so they don’t spread their infection to others
Antibiotics do not get rid of colds and your immune system usually clears the infection. In some cases antibiotics are needed; such as for those with underlying lung disease.

Symptoms to consider contacting our team about include

  • Wheezing or breathlessness (including if symptoms don’t respond to your normal inhalers if you use these)
  • Severe headaches, especially if associated with vomiting, a stiff neck, a rash or difficulty looking at bright light
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood (or if sputum dark or rusty-coloured)
  • Becoming drowsy or confused
  • Fever lasting more than five days. Or a fever that goes and then comes back
  • Dehydration (not passing urine regularly)
  • Cough persisting for longer than 3-4 weeks
  • If you have a child that has gone downhill and you are worried, please call and speak to a nurse

We are always happy to provide advice and see sick people when needed. If you are unsure, please call and speak to a nurse for help. Or you can try calling Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice.


We have recently provided an extension to our current service, with the opportunity for same day virtual after hours appointments with a trusted offsite provider.  Practice Plus is available weekdays 5pm-10pm and weekends/public holidays 8am-8pm. Follow this link to access virtual after hours consults or to find out more about Practice Plus


Accessing GP care during the Omicron outbreak

Aroha mai, Vivian Medical Centre is currently under a lot of pressure providing remote care for a high number of COVID-19 patients who are self-managing their illness at home. Some of our team members are in isolation with their whānau, so we’re also short staffed.

We are still here for you though so please don’t put off getting in touch if you’re unwell.

We are inundated with phone calls, so it will take longer than usual to get through. We’re also doing things a bit differently to ensure people get the right medical care as soon as possible.

Here’s what you can expect.

  • It will take some time to get through to the practice. Please consider leaving a message for a call back, or using the patient portal to access your medical records, view test results and order repeat prescriptions.
  • Some GP consultations will be available for people who need to be seen kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face). There will probably be a longer than usual wait time to get an appointment.
  • Doctors will also be booking virtual consultations, which allow you to have a telephone or video appointment from home.
  • Routine or non-urgent appointments may be postponed.
  • Emergency departments remain available for emergencies.
  • If it’s not an emergency, you can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free 24-hour health advice or find health information at
  • You can go to a pharmacy to ask for advice on minor medical issues or health concerns.
  • Please note: If you have had COVID-19 you can return to childcare, school or work after 7 days of isolation, if you have no symptoms. You do not need a RAT test after 7 days to prove you no longer have it, and we are unable to provide RAT tests for this purpose.

Thank you for your patience. We want everyone to receive the care they need, and we’re doing our best to make that happen.

Still time to get the flu jab

Although having the flu jab doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch the flu, it will give you more protection and reduce the symptoms if you do catch it.

In 2022, all people aged 65 and over are eligible for the free flu jab, for Māori and Pacific people, the free flu vaccination is available from 55 years.

The flu jab is also free for those with underlying health conditions,  pregnant wahine and now children aged 3-12 yrs

For the best protection, get the flu jab before the start of winter – give us a call at Vivian Medical Centre 758 5015 to book a time to get your’s

Our Practice will be closed Monday morning – 31st July, opening at 1pm.  We are finalising upgrades for a new patient management system.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

While we are closed the following options are available – free health advice please call Healthline 0800 611 116, if you need to seek urgent medical care visit Medicross or attend the Emergency Department for any medical emergencies.