With the increase in the number of measles cases in the United States, some authorities are encouraging parents to vaccinate their children sooner or later. Typically, children receive the first measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine when they are about one year old, but due to increased cases, infants in areas with measles outbreaks in progress may be more cautious in an effort to keep some of the limbs younger and more vulnerable communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the number of people infected with measles in the United States continues to rise to 704 on April 26. This is the largest case count since 1994, and 2019 still has eight months remaining for that number to increase. The CDC blames misinformation about vaccines to address undervaccination, which has allowed measles to spread in recent outbreaks. The vast majority of cases in this latest outbreak have been linked to communities with low vaccination rates.
Young children, babies, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at risk of complications from the incredibly contagious virus. That is why health authorities are doing everything they can to encourage people in areas with active measles outbreaks to get vaccinated, including – in some places – by lowering the recommended vaccination age.
In New York, which has recorded hundreds of measles cases since last fall, the state Health Department has given permission to reduce the age of vaccination to six months in areas with continuous outbreaks, according to hospital spokeswoman Erin Silk. . Department. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered everyone – including infants up to six months of age – to receive measles vaccines. The measles vaccine is safe and effective, despite the myth completely denied that vaccines cause autism. An extra vaccine against measles at six months is also very safe, according to Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. It is not the norm because, under typical non-outbreak circumstances, the vaccine may not be as effective for such young babies. "However, some babies may still benefit from early immunization during a true measles outbreak," he says in an e-mail to The Verge.
Vaccines can help protect people against infections, essentially giving the immune system a training fight against a weaker opponent. The MMR vaccine, for example, contains weakened versions of live viruses. By combating them, the immune system develops a memory of how to respond if these viruses actually strike at full force in the future. "The goal is to induce an immune response that is the product of natural infection without having to pay the price for the natural infection," says Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Babies are born with some passive immunity in the form of antibodies they receive from their mothers. After delivery and before they wear out, these antibodies help protect the baby during the first few months. The time can vary from baby to baby – some are protected for more than six months, others less. But if these antibodies are still around when the baby gets the measles vaccine, they can also focus on the measles vaccine and neutralize it by preventing it from eliciting a sufficient immune response to protect the baby in the short or long term. That's why doctors recommend the first dose of measles vaccine when they do it. But in outbreaks this may change.
Some additional protection may be needed in outbreak situations where many babies could be exposed. Public health officials may recommend adding an earlier dose to infants from six months of age, according to Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the CDC. The recommendation is for children to be revaccinated when they are about one year old and receive the next dose when they are between four and six years of age, according to the CDC. Because measles outbreaks in the US originate from people who have visited other countries, the CDC also recommends in its recent update against measles that children older than six months take one dose of the triple vaccine and that adults take the second before traveling outside the US. . Hotez suggests that any parent who has questions should talk to their child's pediatrician.
Making sure everyone can be vaccinated is The vaccine is the best way to prevent the virus from gaining traction again in the US, according to the CDC. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said in a statement Monday: "Vaccines are safe. Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccine-preventable diseases are dangerous. "