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Do I Need Adult Measles Booster Shots?

By    |   Wednesday, 04 February 2015 04:24 PM

Question: I’ve been reading about the measles outbreak in Disneyland and am wondering if I need a booster shot? I’m 55. Is there any way to find out if the measles shot I got as a kid will still protect me?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer: 
Yes, you probably do need revaccination. This is an excellent question. Measles immunity from the disease seems to be longer lasted than the immunity from a single vaccination, and is the reason that a second measles vaccination is now recommended. Your childhood single vaccination is probably not sufficient to protect you from measles

Measles vaccination now occurs as a two-shot series for this very reason. The first MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot is given at age 12-15 months and a second one is recommended at age 4-6 years to pick up those that failed to respond to the first dose. Between two and five percent of people do not develop measles immunity after the first dose of vaccine, and this is the reason for the second dose.

Measles vaccines became available in 1963. Those born after 1957 (this includes you) should receive a repeat MMR dose today. Those over 60 and at high risk (such as healthcare workers and international travelers) should receive two doses of MMR separated by at least four weeks.

People who were vaccinated for measles prior to 1968 should be revaccinated with at least one dose of MMR.Those vaccinated prior to 1979 with mumps vaccine who are at high risk (such as those who work in healthcare or international travelers) should also be revaccinated with MMR.

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Most older Americans need a measles booster shot. Ask your doctor about your specific needs.
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Wednesday, 04 February 2015 04:24 PM
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