Vaccine hesitancy creates concern about measles resurgence

Measles vaccinations took a slight downtown in 2020.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Ever since the 1960s, cases of measles have gone down to the point where many of us don’t give the sickness a second thought. But there’s a change on the horizon, as vaccine hesitancy trickles down even to tried-and-true vaccines.

“In 2020, a lot fewer kids received measles vaccine on schedule than in previous years”, explains CHI Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. David Quimby. “I’m hoping this is just a delay, for whatever reason, and then they will go ahead and get it.”

Sure, the COVID vaccine is very new, but that’s not the case with the measles shot, which has decades of use behind it. “There are great safety data. It is very effective”, says Dr. Quimby.

As numbers take a dip in America, the stakes are high if that continues. The CDC estimates somewhere between 3 and 4 million people caught measles every year prior to a vaccine being made available. It went down around 99% after that. Without vaccine protection, measles spreads very quickly.

“If I have measles and I walk through a room, and I leave, and you walking into that room two or three hours later, you’re exposed, even though I’m no longer there”, says Dr. Quimby.

Luckily, the vaccine has great results, but it’s doing almost all the work by itself. That’s because there aren’t any medications available for measles. Dr. Quimby says, “It’s all supportive measures”.

The measles vaccine is generally lumped together with mumps and rubella to form the MMR vaccine, for the sake of convenience. The other two illnesses don’t share the extreme transmissibility of measles, but they do come with their own issues that should be avoided.

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