Born before 1989? Experts say you may need a measles booster shot


Driven by ongoing outbreaks in NY state, the number of cases of measles in 2019 has surpassed 700, the highest level in the United States since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

Last week US President Donald Trump urged Americans to "get their shots" after almost 700 cases of measles were reported across 22 states. That's the highest number of cases reported in the United States since the disease was eliminated in 2000.

New York City's measles outbreak has been primarily affecting ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, where vaccination rates tend to be lower and anti-vaccination sentiments common.

Prolonged measles outbreaks could also come at a significant cost, according to New Jersey Assemblyman Herb Conaway, D-Burlington, who is one of the sponsors of a bill seeking to eliminate a loophole that allows thousands of parents to cite religious beliefs as a reason to opt out of vaccinating their children.

"You don't need a booster after you've had your two doses of MMR", says Jennifer Heath, a supervisor within the Minnesota Department of Health's Vaccine and Preventable Disease.

In a statement today, Save the Children-a London-based nongovernmental organization-said today that its Children's Emergency Health Unit has already responded to three measles outbreaks this year-in South Sudan, Kenya, and Madagascar-more than in any previous year.

Dr. Javaid emphasizes that getting the vaccine isn't recommended for everybody, pregnant women included.

If you were born before the 1960s, you may have never been vaccinated against measles because it was assumed you'd been exposed to the virus.

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The number was up 1.3% since the most recent tally of 695 reported on Wednesday, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have had a serious allergic reaction to a prior dose of the vaccine, it would be safe to say you shouldn't receive another dose.

Officials say it depends on a few factors: if you were vaccinated, when you were vaccinated, or if you lost documentation proving you got the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot. Talk to your doctor about any personal risks and discuss a vaccine schedule that may be right for you. More than 500 of the people infected were not vaccinated.

Health officials are also recommend infants 6 through 11 months receive one dose of the vaccine before global travel.

In 1968, an improved and even weaker measles vaccine was developed, and it has been the only measles vaccine used in the United States since being distributed, according to the CDC.

Esper said the MMR vaccine is so effective that someone who is not vaccinated can get the vaccine up to a day or so after measles exposure, and that will prevent measles from taking root. One dose is around 93 percent effective at preventing measles, and two doses are around 97 percent effective. Some may need two doses.

Is it risky to get re-vaccinated? "If you don't have a record, you can go out and ask for another dose of MMR vaccine, that's usually the best thing to do". The CDC typically advises that the first dose of the vaccine be administered at 12 months, making young infants especially susceptible.

There is a blood test doctors can use to check immunity as well, but it may take some time to get results back, he added.