What everyone needs to know about measles vaccination

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine – commonly known as the MMR vaccine – has been effective in preventing the spread of these diseases for decades.

According to Camille Sabella , M.D., a pediatric infectious disease expert at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, recent upticks in measles cases in certain areas of the U.S. show how vital it is for healthy children to receive the vaccine, which comes in two doses.

“The first dosage is usually given right at 12 months in the form of measles, mumps, rubella, (MMR) vaccine,” he said. ” About 95 percent of children who get the first dose respond very well. The five percent that do not respond well usually respond to a second dose. ”

Dr. Sabella said there is a lot of misconception about whether the MMR vaccine’s effectiveness wanes over time – it does not.

He said evidence shows that those who have received the recommended two doses of MMR should have life-long protection from measles.

However, he points out that the recommendation for all children to receive two doses of MMR vaccine went into effect in the early 1990’s , so, adults who were born before that time may have had only one dose of MMR vaccine.

For those who are not sure if they’ve had one or two doses- he recommends checking vaccine records.

If records are not available, he said it’s best to be safe and to get both doses of the vaccine.

People can receive the first dose of MMR at any time after age one, and then the second dose 28 days after the first dose (young children are usually given the second dose just prior to starting school), as long as they are not pregnant or immune-compromised.

Dr. Sabella said if someone has only had one dose, there is no need to start the series over again – they simply need to get the second dose

He said it’s important to remember that measles is a dangerous disease and that when complications arise, they can result in death.

Therefore, vaccination against measles is crucial to protect vulnerable people in the community.

“Those who are pregnant, or those who have immune problems, cannot always receive live-virus vaccines,” said Dr. Sabella . ” Therefore, it’s really important for those of us who can receive it to really be fully protected. We really need for the majority of the population to be protected against the measles to prevent outbreaks. ”

Source: Cleveland Clinic