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Measles is a very contagious disease that can have serious complications in some people. It’s spread by an airborne virus when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours. Getting the measles vaccine is the best way to prevent getting and spreading measles.

Latest news (as of March 2024)

  • With measles cases being reported locally and internationally, people in BC are reminded to check their vaccination records before travelling, to ensure they are protected.
  • Babies as young as six months should get vaccinated against measles before travelling to countries where measles is spreading. Children between the ages of 12 months and four years can also get their second dose before travelling internationally.
  • Adults may already have protection from childhood vaccination or from having measles before. Measles vaccines are typically not needed for those born before 1970 as most people in that age group have immunity to measles from a prior infection, before vaccination was widely available. However, before international travel, adults should ensure they have received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine if they were born in 1970 or later.
  • Vaccine appointments can be booked at local pharmacies for individuals ages 4 and older, and is also available at walk-in-clinics and many primary care offices. Please call ahead to check on vaccine availability.
  • For more information on recent news, please check ImmunizeBC.

Signs and symptoms of the measles

After someone catches the measles virus, symptoms can start as soon as seven days, and up to 21 days, after a person is infected with the virus.

Signs and symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever of 38.5°C or higher, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes that are often sensitive to light, 
  • A rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts about 4 to 7 days. 
  • There may also be small white spots inside the mouth 
  • Young children may also develop diarrhea or an ear infection

How measles spreads

Measles is very contagious and spreads easily.

When an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, the virus spreads through the air. The measles virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours. You can become infected when you breathe in these droplets or touch objects contaminated with the virus. The airborne spread of measles virus makes the disease very contagious. Sharing food, drinks or cigarettes, or kissing someone who has the virus can also put you at risk.

Immunization for the measles

Vaccinations are recommended to any adult or child over one year old with uncertain immunization or disease history. If you were born in 1970 or later and have received less than two doses of measles-containing vaccine, you are recommended to update your protection. The vaccines are free as part of routine childhood immunizations and to others needing protection against measles.

Northern Health offers the measles vaccine by appointment. Many primary care, walk-in clinics and pharmacies carry the measles vaccine. Please call ahead to make sure the vaccine is available before you visit. Click here to find an immunization clinic near you.

For more information, please check ImmunizeBC.

The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) lasts for a lifetime. Two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles. One dose of vaccine is 95 per cent effective.

  • Children in BC born in or after 1994 routinely receive two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), one at 12 months, then again before they start kindergarten. If they are up-to-date with their immunizations, these individuals should be protected against measles.
  • If you were born before 1994 or grew up outside of BC, you may have received only one dose of the vaccine and require a second dose.
  • If you were born before 1970, you are likely to be immune to measles. However, if you aren’t sure if you have ever had the infection, an MMR vaccine is safe and recommended.
  • Anyone who has ever had the infection does not need to be immunized.
  • For more information, please check ImmunizeBC.

Measles vaccine (MMR) is not recommended for people who are pregnant

The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) is a live vaccine and therefore it is not recommended that pregnant people be vaccinated for measles until after they give birth. However, it is recommended that everyone within the same household be up to date on vaccinations to protect you and your baby lowering the risk of infection.

I need more information about measles.

Measles clinics

Burns Lake


Please check with the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic.


Daajing Giids (formerly the Village of Queen Charlotte)

Dawson Creek

Please check with the Dawson Creek Health Unit.


Dease Lake

Please check with the Stikine Health Unit.


Fort Nelson

Please check with the Fort Nelson Health Unit.


Fort St. James

Please check with the Fort St. James Health Unit.


Fort St. John

Please check with the Fort St. John Health Unit.


Fraser Lake



Please check with Hazelton Community Health.



Please check with the Houston Health Centre.


Hudson's Hope

Please check with the Hudon's Hope Health Centre.





Please check with Masset Community Health.



Please check with the McBride Health Unit.


Prince George

Please check with the Northern Interior Health Unit.


Prince Rupert



Please check with Smithers Community Health.



Please check with the Stewart Health Centre.



Please check with the Terrace Health Unit.


Tumbler Ridge


Please check with the Valemount Health Centre.



Please check with the Vanderhoof Health Unit.