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Do Parents Need a Measles Booster?

Many of you have asked if our Peds at the Meadows parents need to get a measles booster vaccine, since those born between 1957 and 1989 might not be fully immune to the virus.

Here’s the scoop: Those born before 1957 were most likely naturally exposed to the live measles virus, which makes them, almost always, fully immune. After 1957 and before 1989, individuals were given ONE dose of the vaccine. While the immunity from this one dose was good, it wasn’t perfect. So, there is a possibility that individuals born during that time period might not be fully immune. Individuals born after 1989, were given two doses of the vaccine, which results in an approx. 98 percent rate of immunity.

If you are concerned about your immunity, here are two ways to ensure you are immune:

1. Check your titers (antibodies in your body that indicate immunity). This is a simple blood test that your doctor can order. Moms, our friends in OB/GYN told us that it is pretty routine for your doctor to check for your immunity while pregnant. So, give your OB/GYN a call, and ask if they checked your levels. Chances are, if you didn’t have immunity, they would have notified you and recommended a second dose of the MMR vaccine after delivery.

2. Get another MMR shot. If you are concerned, there is no harm in asking your doctor to administer another MMR shot to boost your immunity. This is often easier, more accurate, and possibly less money out-of-pocket than checking your immunity.

For now, since we aren’t in an area where measles is endemic, there is no need to panic. HOWEVER, if you are planning on traveling to an area where the virus is rife (ex. Brooklyn, NY or certain international destinations), it is probably worthwhile to get a booster shot to play it safe. Ideally, booster shots should be administered two weeks before possible exposure.

Please note: Unlike most other vaccines, it is NOT PERMITTED for women to receive an MMR while pregnant, so if you plan to become pregnant, it might be worthwhile to get a booster shot (at least one month before conceiving).

Once again, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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