Tag: early MMR

Everything You Need to Know About the Measles Vaccine

The measles vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines we have.

It is also one of the safest, having very few serious side effects.

Everything You Need to Know About the Measles Vaccine

So why are some parents still afraid to allow their kids to get vaccinated and protected, putting them at risk to get measles, a life-threatening disease?

“Existing evidence on the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccine supports current policies of mass immunisation aimed at global measles eradication and in order to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mumps and rubella.”

Cochrane Systematic Review on Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children

Let’s see if you still are after we get all of your questions about the measles vaccine answered…

Schools in California were closed for at least two weeks in 1917 because of measles epidemics.
Schools in California were closed for at least two weeks in 1917 because of measles epidemics.
  1. How long has the measles vaccine been around? The very first measles vaccine was licensed by John Enders in 1963. An improved measles vaccine was developed by Maurice Hilleman and licensed in 1968, and that is the measles vaccine that we still use today, at least in the United States. It was combined into the MMR vaccine in 1971.
  2. How effective is the measles vaccine? A single dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing a measles infection. Two doses (the second dose was added to the routine immunization schedule in 1994) are up to 97% effective. That’s why almost all of the people who get measles in an outbreak are unvaccinated.
  3. How long does immunity from the measles vaccine last? Immunity from the measles vaccine is thought to be life-long. It is important to understand that the second dose isn’t a booster dose, but is instead for those few folks who don’t respond to the first dose.
  4. Who should get the measles vaccine? Everyone without a true medical contraindication should get the measles vaccine (MMR), with the first dose at 12-15 months and a second dose at 4-6 years.
  5. Can my kids get their measles vaccine early? An advanced immunization schedule is available for kids in an outbreak or if they will be traveling out of the country. The first dose can be given as early as age 6-months, but is repeated when the child is 12 months because of concerns of interference with maternal antibodies. The official second dose can be given early too, as early as 4 weeks after the first dose, as long as the child is at least 12 months old.
  6. Do I need a booster dose of the measles vaccine? People who are fully immunized do not need a booster dose of the MMR vaccine, but it is important to understand whether or not you are really fully immunized to see if you need a second dose. Some adults who are not high risk are considered fully vaccinated with only one dose, while others should have two doses. Are you at high risk to get measles? Do you travel, live in an area where there are measles outbreaks, go to college, or work as a health care professional?
  7. Should I check my measles titers? In general, it is not necessary to check your titers for measles. If you haven’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine, then get a second dose. If you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, then you are considered protected. Keep in mind that there is no recommendation to get a third dose of MMR for measles protection, although it is sometimes recommended for mumps protection during a mumps outbreak.
  8. If my child gets a rash after getting his MMR, does that mean that he has measles? No. This is a common, very mild vaccine reaction and not a sign of measles.
  9. Can the measles vaccine cause seizures? The MMR vaccine can cause febrile seizures. It is important to remember that without other risk factors, kids who develop febrile seizures after a vaccine are at the same small risk for developing epilepsy as other kids. And know that vaccines aren’t the only cause of febrile seizures. Vaccine-preventable diseases can cause both febrile seizures and more serious non-febrile seizures.
  10. Why do people think that that the measles vaccine is associated with autism? It is well known that this idea originated with Andrew Wakefield, but the real question should be why do some people still think that vaccines are associated with autism after so much evidence has said that they aren’t?
  11. What are the risks of the measles vaccine? Like other vaccines, the MMR vaccine has mild risks or side effects, including fever, rash, and soreness at the injection site. Some more moderate reactions that can rarely occur include febrile seizures, joint pain, and a temporary low platelet count. More serious reactions are even rarer, but can include deafness, long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness, brain damage, and life-threatening allergic reactions.
  12. Why are there so many reports of measles vaccine deaths? There are extremely few deaths after vaccines. The reports of measles vaccine deaths you see on the Internet are just reports to VAERS and are not actually reports that have been proven to be caused by a vaccine. As with other vaccines, the risks from having a vaccine-preventable disease are much greater than the risks of the vaccine. The only reason that it might not seem like that now is because far fewer people get measles now than they did in the pre-vaccine era, when about 500 people died with measles each year.
  13. When did they take mercury out of the measles vaccine? Measles vaccines, including the MMR, have never, ever contained mercury or thimerosal.
  14. Why do we still have outbreaks if we have had a measles vaccine since 1963? In the United States, although the endemic spread of measles was declared eliminated in 2000, many cases are still imported from other countries. As measles cases increase around the world, that is translating to an increase in outbreaks here. Even though overall vaccination rates are good, because there are many pockets of susceptible people in areas that don’t vaccinate their kids, they get hit with outbreaks.
  15. Can we eradicate measles? Because measles is so contagious, the vaccine does have failures, and some folks still don’t get vaccinated, there is some doubt that we can eradicate measles without a better vaccine. That doesn’t mean that the current measles vaccines can’t prevent outbreaks though…

Are you ready to get your kids their MMR vaccine so that they are vaccinated and protected against measles, mumps, and rubella?

If not, what other questions do you have?

While you are thinking, here is a question for you – Do know why they used to call measles a harmless killer?

More on the Everything You Need to Know About the Measles Vaccine

Is January Usually a Big Measles Month?

This year is just getting started, but we already have reports of 86 92 94 measles cases in 7 states, and we haven’t even reached the end of January.

Is that a lot?

Well, let’s compare to previous years…

Is January Usually a Big Measles Month?

Classically, in the pre-vaccine era and in parts of the world that still have endemic measles, rates of this vaccine-preventable disease are highest:

  • during the late winter and early spring (temperate climates, like the United States)
  • after the rainy season (tropical climates)

In the post-vaccine era, measles season seemed to shift a little later, to the spring and early summer. In 1994, for example, when we had 963 cases of measles in the United States, 79% of those cases occurred between April and July.

January is not typically a big month for measles.
January is not typically a big month for measles.

Similarly, in 2011, we had only seen 15% of the year’s total measles cases by April 1. By August 1, that was up to about 70%.

We do see measles cases year round though, we just seem to see more of them in the spring and early summer months. Since most measles outbreaks in the United States are imported from other parts of the world, you might expect that we would see more cases when folks are traveling more and when there are big outbreaks in other parts of the world.

Unfortunately, measles is on the rise in many parts of the world right now.

And that is likely why we have already seen more cases this month than in the entire year of 2000 (86 cases), 2002 (44 cases), 2003 (55 cases), 2004 (37 cases), 2005 (66 cases), 2006 (66 cases), 2007 (55 cases), 2009 (71 cases), 2010 (61 cases), and 2016 (86 cases).

YearJanuary Measles CasesTotal Cases
19915969,643
1992492,200
199317312
19946963
199522309
19962508
20081140
20118220
20137187
201415667
2015108188
20188355
201994?

As you can see from the above table, January is not typically a big month for measles.

But what happened in 2015? There were a lot of measles cases in January, but we ended the year with only a moderate amount of cases.

That January spike was the California outbreak that had begun in December 2014. By February 2015, there were at least 125 cases, but fortunately no other large outbreaks the rest of the year.

Could that happen this year?

Could the ongoing outbreaks in New York and the Pacific Northwest stop and we then end up with only a moderate amount of cases?

Let’s hope so.

Let’s hope that having the second highest number of measles cases in January since 1991 ends up being the only record we set this year.

More on Measles Season

Where Is Measles on the Rise?

We have been hearing a lot about ongoing measles outbreaks in the United States this year.

Brooklyn. Rockland County. The Pacific Northwest.

Think 2018 was a big year for measles? It was the second highest number of cases since 1996.

How will 2019 shape up?

Consider that it isn’t even the end of January yet and we have already had more cases, 74 92, than we had in the entire years of 2002 (44 cases), 2003 (55), 2004 (37), 2005 (66), 2006 (55), 2007 (43), 2009 (71), 2010 (61), and 2012 (55).

That’s right. In just three weeks, we have had more than double the amount of cases than all of 2004!

Not surprisingly, this isn’t just happening in the United States.

Where Is Measles on the Rise?

In fact, if you understand that the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000 and that outbreaks are started by folks with measles who travel in or out of the country, then it makes sense that more measles here likely means that there is more measles somewhere else.

Unfortunately, this year, that somewhere else seems to be just about everywhere.

Japan is off to the fastest start in 10 years, with 46 cases in the first two weeks of January, surpassing 2009, when they ended up with over 700 cases.
Japan is off to the fastest start in 10 years, with 46 cases in the first two weeks of January, surpassing 2009, when they ended up with over 700 cases.

Are you planning a trip to Europe anytime soon?

With so many measles cases in Europe, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that there are so many deaths.
With so many measles cases in Europe, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there are so many deaths.

You should know that their measles outbreaks aren’t over. There are ongoing outbreaks in Romania, France, Greece, and Italy.

“In 2018 and as of 10 January 2019, most cases in the EU were reported from Romania (5,376), France (2,902), Italy (2,427) and Greece (2,290). Thirty-five deaths were reported in 2018 from Romania (22), Italy (8), France (3) and Greece (2).

Outside EU/EFTA countries, Ukraine is experiencing the continuation of the largest outbreak, with over 54,000 cases reported in 2018, including 16 deaths, and over 2,000 cases, including one death, reported at the start of 2019. Measles cases are also reported by Algeria, Belarus, Israel, Mauritius, Serbia and the US.”

Communicable disease threats report, 6-12 January 2019, week 2

Where else are we seeing measles?

  • at least 3,150 cases in Israel and 2 deaths in 2018
  • over 17,300 in the Philippines and at least 24 deaths in 2018
  • nearly 2,000 cases in Vietnam (2018) and cases are increasing in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City already in 2019
  • at least 517 confirmed cases in the UK (through the 3rd quarter of 2018)
  • India remains the country with the most cases, with over 65,600 cases in 2018
  • over 19,000 cases and 39 deaths in Madagascar
  • a large outbreak in Thailand, with at least 4,327 cases
  • an ongoing outbreak in Malaysia with over 1,934 cases and 6 deaths (2018)
  • at least 30 cases in the Republic of Korea
  • outbreaks in Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, and DR Congo
Conflict zones plus vaccine hesitancy contribute to measles outbreaks in the Philippines.
Conflict zones plus vaccine hesitancy contribute to measles outbreaks in the Philippines.

And over 16,000 confirmed measles cases, including 86 deaths, have been reported in 12 countries of the Region of the Americas: Antigua and Barbuda (1 case), Argentina (14 cases), Brazil (9,898 cases, including 13 deaths), Canada (29 cases), Chile (2 cases ), Colombia (171 cases), Ecuador (19 cases), Guatemala (1 case), Mexico (5 cases), Peru (38 cases), the United States of America (350 cases), and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (5,643 cases, including 73 deaths).

Does it seem like measles is on the rise everywhere?

That’s because it basically is.

Since 2017, there has been a measles resurgence in three regions of the world and measles elimination milestones have not been met.

And as you can see, in almost all of these places where we are seeing more measles, we are seeing more people dying of measles?

That’s why it is important to get vaccinated.

There is even a recommendation to get an early MMR if you will be traveling out of the United States. Get vaccinated. Don’t bring home measles and start an outbreak.

More on the Resurgance of Measles