Do I need a measles booster? Adult vaccine questions answered - News Coverage

Do I need a measles booster? Adult vaccine questions answered

A record number of measles cases across the nation have reignited a conversation about vaccinating children. But what do adults need to know about preventing the contagious disease?

In short, vaccines are the best way to prevent spreading the measles, and even those not vaccinated as children are able to get the shots. There’s also usually no need for follow up immunizations, as the two-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is good for life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Measles is an extremely contagious illness caused by a virus that spreads through the air. It mainly infects children, causing a red spotted rash and fevers as high as 104 degrees, but it can also infect adults. There is no cure for measles. 

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Here’s what else you should know:

Do I need a booster vaccine?

Maybe.

If you were born between 1957 and 1989, double check your immunization records. Many people born during that time only received one dose of the MMR vaccine because that is what was recommended. The CDC updated its guidelines, recommending two doses, in 1989. 

Only people who received two doses of the measles vaccine as children are protected for life, according to the CDC. 

Merck & Co announced this week it’s increased MMR production for anyone who needs the vaccine, CNBC reports. 

Not sure if you received two shots? There is a blood test that can check your antibodies and let you know if you’re at risk. 

More: Born between 1957-1989? You may not be protected from measles outbreak

More: Measles 2019: What to know about checking your vaccine records, immunity

How effective is the vaccine?

The measles two-dose vaccine is 97 percent effective against the virus, according to the CDC. 

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I never received the measles vaccine as a child. Can I get one as an adult?

Yes. Adults who haven’t been vaccinated should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine, the CDC recommends. Adults who are at high-risk for exposure, including college students and international travelers, are advised to get two doses. 

More: Son defies mom, chooses to get vaccinated at 18: ‘God knows how I’m still alive’

Can I get measles even if I was vaccinated?

Yes, but it’s rare. Health officials estimate about three out of 100 people who get two doses of the vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus, health officials estimate.

I had measles. Do I need a vaccine?

No, if you were infected by measles, mumps, or rubella in the past, you are immune, according to the CDC. Most people born before 1957 are considered immune, because largely everyone was infected at that time, when vaccines were not available. 

How contagious is it? 

Measles is so contagious that 90 percent of unvaccinated people who come in contact with an infected person will get the virus. The virus can linger in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can spread four days before and after symptoms appear. 

 

More: Roald Dahl’s heartbreaking letter on daughter’s measles death 

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

 

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