As part of a catch-up vaccination campaign because of South Africa’s five-month-long measles outbreak, all children between the ages of six months and 15 years can get a free vaccine in the public sector — even if they’ve missed a jab in the past (or their parents can’t remember if they had all their shots) or if they no longer have a vaccination card, says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads when people breathe in tiny virus-containing droplets that hang in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can also get the virus if they touch a surface onto which these droplets fell and then touch their nose, mouth or eyes.

It’s especially children under the age of five who get infected or fall seriously ill. Although only one or two out of every 1 000 children will die from measles, getting infected with the virus can cause other complications like an ear infection which occurs in one in every six children. In serious cases, infection can cause brain damage and deafness…..more