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 12). 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 through the community, so from 1992 they were immunised too.
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Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
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.