Measles Vaccination

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Measles Vaccination

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by Alvin Birmingham-Monroe

Measles, the disease previously considered eliminated, has recently come back into the light and become a broadly talked about topic. Many of these discussions repeatedly centered more on the measles vaccine.

First off, what is the measles? According to the CDC, measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads in the air from coughs and sneezes. The symptoms start with a fever, progress to cough, red eyes, and a runny nose. After a rash starts at the head then proceeds to spread to the rest of the body. It can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children.

Secondly, what is the Measles vaccine? According to the CDC, the measles vaccine or MMR Vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). It is only licensed for use in children 12 months through 12 years of age. MMR like many vaccines are given by shot but can as well be given at the same time as other vaccines. It is recommended that if you have no evidence of immunity you should look to getting vaccinated. At the moment there are no federal laws that enforce these vaccines but in all 50 states, it is required for public schools and childcare. Lastly, to note as reported by CDC two doses of MMR vaccine are 97% effective against measles and one dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective against measles. In rare cases of severe events after receiving this vaccine one can be the cause of pneumonia (a serious lung infection), lifelong brain damage, deafness, and death.

The reason for so much discussion regarding measles and the vaccine is the recent outbreak within the U.S. As revealed by the CDC from January 1 to March 14, 2019, 268 individual cases have been confirmed in 15 states in the US. The states with the reported cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

One of the most talked about events relating to the topic is the Ohio teen, Ethan Lindenberger, who defied his mom to get vaccinated. In an article by Christina Maxouris and Debra Goldschmidt from CNN, the teen explained that he had grown up in an anti-vaccine household. When he reached the age of 18 he began to get the vaccines he needed. On Friday, Nov 16, 2019, he posted to Reddit his story asking for advice. In an article by Jacqueline Howard, she stated “For certain individuals and organizations that spread misinformation, they instill fear into the public for their own gain selfishly and do so knowing that their information is incorrect. For my mother, her love, affection,  and care as a parent, was used to push an agenda to create false distress, and these sources which spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people”, noting organizations and individuals that are spreading misinformation that is causing people to fear these vaccinations.

In the end, the MMR vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective. Only in rare situations can the vaccine be dangerous.