As the measles outbreak continues to climb across the nation, health experts are warning that it’s not just unvaccinated children that are at great risk as adults who got the vaccine as kids may not be fully protected.
So far this year there have been 465 confirmed cases of the measles in 19 states, 39 of those here in Michigan.
While being vaccinated is your best defense against the disease, doctors say that immunity can wear off over time and leave older generations at a higher risk.
“So, it’s really important to have that two-dose series because then you do have great immunity after that,” said Christina Harrington, a health officer with the Saginaw County Health Department.
Harrington said that today most children receive at least two doses of the measles vaccine due to CDC research showing a nearly 100 percent protection rate afterward.
But she said that the reason why the disease is suddenly making a reappearance is because of several factors such as global travel and fewer people getting second vaccinations.
“Obviously now with global travel, you can hop on a plane and be in another country and be back in the same day and so the risks are here to see the transmission of those sort of reemerging diseases like measles,” Harrington said.
Now she’s recommending all adults get checked, even if they know they’ve received the vaccine in the past.
“They may have some laboratory testing that they’ve done that shows that they’re immune to measles, which is great too and they should make sure they’ve completed the two-dose series if they can for the MMR,” Harrington said.
If you’re still concerned over whether or not you’re protected from the measles, you can always check with your healthcare provider.
“Folks need to have a conversation with their primary care physician or whoever to say am I a good candidate for this, do we have documentation about my vaccinations, and get vaccinated,” Harrington said.