2015- Should I Rush In To Get The MMR Now That It’s All Over The News?

HopeWith vaccines, and the measles in particular, being the new Ebola, health news prized baby, one would think we are on the verge of losing every American to the “dreaded measles”.  As the drum beat reaches deafening proportions the public must be thinking, “Wow, we are in danger, I need to rush in and get that MMR vaccine”.  I’ve had calls here in Oregon this past week and patients asking if it is safe to leave their home and go to the grocery store!

We have had no (ZERO) deaths in the USA from measles in 10 years!

There has been one (ONE) case of measles in a 40 year old man in Oregon and nobody got measles from him! We are past the incubation period so in Oregon your risk is the same as it always was – less than 1 in 1 million, unless you plan to travel to an area with active cases.

95% of adults in the USA are immune.  One MMR gives 95% protection and that protection lasts for life!

So for those with children over age 1 year (12 months) who have not had an MMR and wanted to wait, when is it too dangerous to wait, and when should you just get the MMR for your child?

The CDC and AAP recommendation is to give it at 12 months and as young as 6 months if you are going to a high risk area for measles. So when I am asked what should you do, that is the official recommendation.  When I am asked what I would do if it were my child and why, well now I can explain the nuances of this situation.

For Oregon and my patients with whom we have discussed this at length and we know the family history of risks, etc., here is what I would do if I were in your shoes:

If I have one autistic child or a lot of: autism, severe ADHD, Aspergers, or autoimmune issues in my family,- I wouldn’t give the MMR unless measles was in my child’s school or home (even then it’s a risk benefit ratio). The risk of dying from measles if you catch it is about 1 in 2000. I had measles and all my friends did – we were all fine.

For most of our families without the huge risk factors, if it were my child, I would wait until age 3 unless there were two new cases of measles in our area (greater Portland area).

Remember, you are supposed to do the MMR at age 12-15 months according to the CDC and the AAP.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

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