Otter Tail County Public Health Has Answers for Questions Regarding Measles
Recently there has been a lot of news coverage about measles and many questions have been asked of Otter Tail County Public Health Department. Jessica Metzger, a public health nurse specializing in disease prevention and control, has some helpful advice for those seeking answers to their questions about measles. There are many resources available to help.
When searching for your vaccination records, or trying to remember if you had the measles disease, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers you protected from the measles if you have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the following:
- You are over the age of 6 and received two doses of measles-containing vaccine.
- A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
- A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
- You were born before 1957.
Questions have been surfacing regarding adults and the need for booster doses. The CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children, according to the U.S. vaccination schedule, protected for life and they do not need a booster dose. However, listed are different scenarios that would require booster doses.
If you were born after 1957 you need at least one dose of measles vaccine unless a laboratory confirmed that you had past measles infection or are immune to measles. Certain adults may need 2 doses. Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days. These adults include:
- students at post-high school education institutions
- healthcare personnel
- international travelers
- people who public health authorities determine are at increased risk for getting measles during a measles outbreak
If you are not sure whether you are up to date on measles vaccine, or you are unsure whether you are immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of measles immunity. If you do not have written documentation of measles immunity, you should get vaccinated with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you are immune. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).
Those who know they got the killed measles vaccine (an earlier formulation of measles vaccine that is no longer used) should talk to their doctor about getting revaccinated with the current, live measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Not many people fall into this group; the killed vaccine was given to less than 1 million people between 1963 and 1968. Also, most people do not know if they got the killed vaccine during this time. If you are unsure whether you fall into this group, you could ask your doctor to test your blood to determine whether you are immune. Again, there is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).
Otter Tail County Public Health Immunization Support Center