According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from January 1 to April 26, 2019, 704 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994. Many adults are asking if they need a second vaccination. Lisa Coles, MD, primary care physician at UC San Diego Health, is available to discuss the measles vaccine and who should get another dose.
“Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with measles, mumps and rubella viruses during childhood. The majority of people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps and rubella,” said Coles. “If you are unsure if you should be receiving an additional dose of the MMR vaccine, it’s very important to talk to your doctor about your vaccination records.”
- If you received a measles vaccine in the 1960s, you may not need to be revaccinated.
- Those who have documentation of receiving live measles vaccine in the 1960s, do not need to be revaccinated.
- Those who were vaccinated prior to 1968 with either inactivated (killed) measles vaccine or measles vaccine of unknown type, should be revaccinated with at least one dose of live attenuated measles vaccine. This recommendation is intended to protect those who may have received killed measles vaccine, which was available from 1963 to 1967 and was not effective.
- Health care personnel born before 1957 without laboratory evidence of immunity or previous infection should consider getting two doses of MMR vaccine.
- In general, adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have received the correct dose(s) of MMR vaccine. These adults include:
- Students at post-high school education institutions
- International travellers
- People whom public health authorities determine are at increased risk for contracting measles or at high risk for complications during a measles outbreak, such as pregnant women or those with a compromised immune system.