Even if you have been vaccinated for the measles virus, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has advised that many adults may need a booster. Current adults in the US that were vaccinated for measles decades ago may very well need to check with their healthcare provider as to whether or not they are at risk if exposed.
The reason for the advised booster, which again depends on when you received your initial vaccination, is because the country is currently in the largest outbreak since the virus was believed to have been eliminated nineteen years ago in 2000. The US CDC stated that as much as 10 percent of the confirmed 695 cases of measles in the outbreak actually occurred in those individuals who had one or even two doses of the vaccine.
This data proves the when a massive amount of individuals, including those who have been vaccinated for the virus, come into contact and are exposed to the measles, can, in fact, contract the virus. The CDC strongly suggests that those either living in or traveling to certain areas with outbreaks, reevaluate their vaccination status and highly consider getting a new dose as a precaution.
Dr. Allison Bartlett, an infectious disease expert at the University of Chicago Medicine, stated that due the "continued vulnerability to infection" is why the CDC is routinely advising those in high-risk areas, such as healthcare, should really look into getting a second vaccination booster of the measles vaccine.
However, trying actually to determine your vaccination status is proving to be majorly tricky for most individuals, as those records are difficult to acquire. Those in the US that were vaccinated in 1989 most likely received two doses of a combination vaccination containing measles, mumps, and rubella, which is still the federal guideline.
On the other hand, those vaccinated between the years of 1963 and 1989 most likely only received one dose, with those before 1963 received an inactivated version of the measles virus. Those before 1957 are now considered immune as they would have been exposed directly due to an outbreak.
Merck & Co, due to the fact that measles virus was considered as having been irradiated and eliminated, is the only US provider of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. In a recent statement, the company has "taken steps to increase US supply" due to the most recent and current outbreak.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Could the current measles outbreak in the US escalate into an all-out epidemic?