The United States is in the midst of the worst outbreak of measles because the disease was naturally eradicated by the county in 2000. But while most of the victims are children whose parents have decided not to vaccinate or people who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, even some people who have received a measles vaccine because children may be real risks depending on their age.
Earlier this month, Israeli representatives of public health reported that a 43-year-old Israeli woman has fallen into a deep coma as a result of a measles infection, a rare complication of the viral, flu-like illness. Israel is currently fighting its own outbreaks of measles and, like the US, is largely due to the transfer between the pockets of unvaccinated people (the woman was a flight attendant of an airline that regularly flies between the US and Israel so she can have concluded it in both countries). But the woman herself was vaccinated, though not to the same degree as many people now.
Today, children receive two doses of the combination of measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, a vaccine, starting at one age. But in the 1980s, people in the United States and elsewhere received just one shot. Only in 1989, after a series of outbreaks, US public health experts approved a two-dose MMR schedule. The MMR vaccine, as well as many others, is not completely effective against measles even with two shots (97% effective) but is still better than a shot (93 effective).
This does not necessarily mean that anyone born before 1989 must immediately escape and be vaccinated again with MMR. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only recommends, for example, that people who were vaccinated between 1963 and 1967 receive a picture of the current MMR vaccine as this older version was not very effective. The CDC also recommends that adults who are still unvaccinated still receive at least one shot of protection.
However, we know that our immunity against measles vaccine may weaken years or decades later, even in people who have received two shots. Interestingly, studies also show that growing mumps in young people may be linked to lower immunity rates much faster than the MMR vaccine, which has led to calls from some scientists for routine third vaccination at 18 years. Meanwhile, the CDC says health officials can recommend a third booster for people at high risk of mumps like those who live near a current outbreak.
But what if you live in an area that is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles? From what we know, there is little extra benefit of getting a third MMR shot for measles alone. But if you had only one MMR shot (or you do not know the vaccination history), there is no real harm going to a doctor and asking them to get the vaccine, especially if you live in one of the five states (California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Washington), where an outbreak is currently raging. Really, at least on Twitter, vaccinated people, including doctorshave reported going to their doctor to check their antibody levels and in some cases get a booster if these levels are particularly.