Back in May 2019 we published an article on vaccinations. With the increase in the outbreak of the measles, it seems prudent to update our readers on the specifics of your risks of exposure. This is information provided by the CDC and in no way suggests you should or should not get the vaccine for yourself or your children. It merely answers some questions you may have.
Are you immune?
If you were vaccinated or had measles as a child, you are probably immune. However, there may be times when you are asked for evidence of immunity and aren’t sure how to obtain it.
What serves as evidence of immunity?
The easiest evidence of immunity is your vaccination records. But getting your hands on them may be easier said than done. For example, a friend of mine has a son who is 35. She has his records should he need them, but she is exceptionally organized. You may not have yours or have any access to them.
If you were born before 1957 chances are good that you contracted the measles, mumps and chicken pox because no vaccine was available. If that’s the case, it means you were infected naturally and are probably immune. But you wouldn’t have documentation of that. You can solve this problem by having a titer test. This is a simple blood test that can verify your immunity, or lack of it. If you are not immune and choose to get vaccinated, your primary care physician can take care of it for you.
What about boosters?
If you are healthcare worker born before 1957, a booster may be a good idea. The best way to find out if a booster is necessary is to contact your primary care physician for advice. She, or he may suggest getting a titer test to determine your level of immunity. From there you’ll be advised on what you should do.
What is the anti-vaccine movement and how did start?
There are lots of reasons parents are concerned about the MMR vaccine for their children. But the main fear is that the vaccine causes autism. This fear popped up in 1998 due to a study in The Lancet, a well-respected British journal. Because it was a very credible journal, people believed the study represented factual information. Unfortunately this was not the case. It incorrectly linked the MMR vaccine with autism.
Twelve years later The Lancet retracted the study having concluded the research contributing to the findings was fraudulent. Although the lead author had his medical license revoked, it was too late. A dozen years of working with poor information is a long time for it to take root.
Much research has been conducted trying to find a cause for autism, but there is still no definitive answer. What we do know is about 100 genes are somehow liked to the disorder, none of which are connected to the MMR vaccine.
Having said that, a parent’s fear of their child becoming autistic is very real. One in 59 children develop it, so discovering the cause is vital. In the end a definite cause may be the only way to disconnect the MMR vaccine as the cause of the disorder.
I’m not making a case for vaccination one way or another. You want to make the best decisions for your child, so all we can do is provide you with accurate information so that you can make a fully informed decision for yourself and members of your family.
I hope this update has helped a little.For more information see Centers for Disease Control.