There has been an outbreak of Measles again in some Central American countries and because that could mean one infected person on a flight, bus or boat heading our way, the Ministry of Health is advising Belizeans to make use of the free vaccinations that are available at public health clinics and hospitals.
Anyone who's infected can still be contagious for four days before and after a rash appears, experts say. Hence everyone, including persons who cannot recall getting the vaccine, can go to the nearest health clinic and get vaccinated again in order to avoid contracting Measles.
What about vaccinations? If you were immunized against measles in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, those vaccines were only about 50% effective. And if that last few percent happen to come into contact with the virus, they're less likely to spread it to others, and their illness is often milder. One dose gives an immunity of 93 percent against measles, 78 percent against mumps and 97 percent against rubella.
I know I was vaccinated.
Giving a vaccine while the antibodies are still circulating will decrease the effectiveness of the shot, which is why immunization isn't recommended until later.
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But if you've had one documented dose of the effective "live" vaccine and aren't at high risk of exposure, the agency says that's adequate.
The Minister for Health Simon Harris has asked the Attorney General to examine whether it would be legal to introduce mandatory vaccination for children attending schools or crèches. Some of them triggered United States outbreaks, mostly among unvaccinated people; that includes the largest outbreaks, in Orthodox Jewish communities in and around New York City.
Meaning, if we don't get this under control, measles will no longer be headline news.
"We need something like that here", he said.
Some people can't get vaccinated at all or need to wait: for example, people with weakened immune systems and babies who are too young to respond to the vaccine.
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Officials said the overall goal is to educate and improve the vaccines we now have.
So far, the case in St. Clair County is the only presumptive measles case under investigation in Alabama. And, depending on your family's income, your child may be eligible to join Medicaid or Child Health Plus, New York State's health insurance plan for children.
The MMR vaccine is generally given from 12 months of age in Barbados.
"If people would rather do that, I think that's fine and reasonable".
The official definition of an outbreak is "a greater than expected number of cases".
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There have been at least five reported cases in the Pittsburgh area, which are not included in the most recent CDC report.