Story: Epidemics

Rubella vaccination, 1982

Rubella vaccination, 1982

Diseases which were once feared are prevented or controlled by immunisation with a vaccine. Girls and boys are given the rubella vaccine in Year 7 (around age 11). At first, only girls were given the vaccine, because rubella is generally a mild disease but dangerous if contracted when pregnant – the virus can attack the growing foetus and cause physical defects and mental retardation. However, health officials realised that boys with rubella were continuing to spread the disease, so from 1992 they too were immunised.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1984/2017
Photograph by Ian Mackley

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Geoff Rice, 'Epidemics - Epidemics, pandemics and disease control', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 10 August 2022)

Story by Geoff Rice, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 15 May 2018