Some Adults Fall Into Measles 'Vaccine Gap'

Published: Monday, February 2, 2015 - 5:31pm
Updated: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 11:10am
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Unvaccinated people are being urged to get their measles shots after the disease has sickened at least seven in Arizona and put another 1,000 at risk. That includes some adults who fall into the so-called “vaccine gap.”

You’re squarely in that gap if you were born between 1957 and 1971. Back then, many people were not getting the vaccine and those who did received a less effective version than the one available now. Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine is the medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Public Health. She said if you do fall in the gap, like some Baby Boomers, a test can tell if you have immunity against measles.

"If you’re not sure and you don’t want to take the time to get a blood test and then wait for the results and then go back, you can just get another vaccine," she said. "And that will be fine."

Insurance should pay for the vaccine, which is available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies. The current vaccine is expected to last the rest of your life, Sunenshine said. And if you’ve already had the disease, like most people born before 1957, you’re also immune. Measles is the most infectious disease known to man. It’s most devastating to children younger than 4 and adults 20 and older. 

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