Victorians will soon be able to get the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccination just by visiting their local pharmacy, without the need to first visit a doctor.
The service is part of a new suite of reforms, adding to the flu and whooping cough vaccines, which have been available in pharmacies since 2016. This offers greater protection, as more than 87% of Victorians live within two-and-a-half kilometres of a pharmacy.
Most younger Victorians received their vaccinations at school or as part of their childhood immunisation schedule, but many adults, especially those born between the late 1960s and 1980s, are unvaccinated or only partially immune.
The majority of people survive measles, although it is a very unpleasant experience to suffer from. In some cases it can lead to hearing loss and panencephalitis, which is usually fatal. Rubella is especially harmful for pregnant women, and can result in miscarriage or birth defects.
Although measles is rarely seen now, compared with several decades ago, there is still some risk if unvaccinated travellers import the disease from overseas trips to places where measles is still common.
In Victoria, the government will also make them available to more Victorians by lowering the eligible age from 18 to 16. While the vaccines will be free, a small service charge may apply.