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Measles Vaccinations in Missouri and Illinois

Published on 04 February 2015

he recent measles outbreak has grabbed a lot of headlines, and created a lot of concern. Right now there are no confirmed measles cases in Missouri. There are several cases in the Chicago area. Knowing all I do about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, I wanted to see how well our children are protected.he U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 94.7% of all kindergarten 

aged children in the country received the two recommended doses of the measles vaccine during the 2013-2014 school year.  In Illinois, 94.7% of children received the vaccine. The number in Missouri is slightly higher at 95.5%. Because the vaccination rates are so high, I do not expect to see a widespread outbreak of measles in either state but this does not mean you should avoid getting vaccinated. Measles is a serious disease that can be prevented.

There has also been increased attention to the number of parents claiming non-medical objections to vaccines. Raising those philosophical or religious concerns allows children to attend school. There is no data for the 2013-14 school year about the number of non-medical exemptions in either Missouri or Illinois. Data does exist for the 2012-13 school year. The CDC reported 6.1% of children enrolled in kindergarten in Illinois last school year claimed exemptions, tying Vermont for the highest in the country for that reporting period. In Missouri, the 2012-13 estimate was 1.8% of children claimed exemptions. The data does not have the level of detail to see which parents opted out of which vaccine. It could be one, or it could be all of them.

I encourage everyone to double check their records to ensure you’ve received two doses of the measles vaccine. By vaccinating yourself, you’ll be helping those with weakened immune systems, children under 1 year old, and others who cannot be vaccinated.

You can review the same records I did here. There is also much more available about the measles vaccinehere.

Fact: The CDC says the most common measles vaccine, known as MMR, is 97% effective at preventing measles. The vaccine is a combination shot of measles, mumps, and rubella. The protection lasts for the patient’s entire lifetime.

About the author: Nicole Gattas, Pharm.D., BCPS, is an associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She specializes in immunizations and over-the-counter medications. Gattas recently appeared on KTVI (Fox 2) in St. Louis to talk about the measles outbreak.

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