Quick Guide: Get Your Kids Vaccinated Against the Measles
The United States is currently dealing with the worst outbreak of Measles on record since 1994. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 880 individual cases have been confirmed in 24 states from Jan. 1st to May 17th, 2019. Even though measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in the year 2000, the illness has seen a resurgence thanks to an increase in the number of travelers who contract measles abroad, and communities with pockets of unvaccinated people. States which have reported cases of the Measles to the CDC include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
This is a Serious Problem
The fact that Measles has managed to reemerge and spread across the country is a red flag about the state of vaccination in the United States. It’s a sign that parents haven’t been diligent about vaccinating their children against such preventable illnesses. Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person either coughs or sneezes. This airborne nature is why the Measles can spread so easily across a given population. Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Out of these millions of cases, an estimated 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitides (brain swelling) from measles. After the discovery of a measles vaccine however, the widespread use of the vaccine eventually led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era.
Get Your Kids Vaccinated Immediately
Measles can easily be prevented with an MMR vaccine. This vaccine actually protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella.
The CDC particularly recommends that children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine:
- A first dose should be administered at 12-15 months of age
- A second dose should be administered at 4-6 years of age.
- Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of the MMR vaccine as previously prescribed are about 97% effective at preventing measles, whereas one dose only is about 93% effective. Health experts say that the current outbreak of Measles has particularly spread amongst school-age children whose parents intentionally declined to get their kids vaccinated. This is problematic because the MMR vaccine doesn’t just prevent the disease after vaccination, it diminishes the severity of symptoms on people who contract the Measles despite having been vaccinated. Any information being circulated about vaccines being linked to autism is false. Numerous scientific studies have been published disproving this argument about why children shouldn’t be vaccinated. So, if you are a parent who cares about the health and safety of your kids, please ensure that they are up to date on their MMR, and all other vaccinations as well.