We are following the current US measles epidemic story with vigilance. Thankfully for now, Arkansas has been spared. We are getting a lot of calls from our parents about what to do in response. We have two recommendations.
First, we are moving the first routine MMR vaccination for our young patients to the 12 month check up. This will afford three months of additional protection without having to have an extra dose of the MMR vaccine. Doses of the MMR vaccine prior to the first birthday require an extra dose of the MMR. Thus, we now recommend an MMR at 12 months and another at 4 years. A total of two doses are required. For those kids who are between 12 month and 15 months, you can have an MMR vaccination after a 1 month interval from the 12 month immunizations (Prevnar, Hepatitis A and Varivax). Waiting until the 15 month check up or doing it 1 month after the 12 month immunizations are your two options for the MMR. Our immunization schedule on our website has been updated with these new recomendations.
Second, if you are not up to date in your measles vaccination with two doses of the MMR, you need to get up to date as soon as possible. This infectious disease is no longer a theoretical risk, but an imminent risk. If you are an adult, it is very possible that you have only had one dose of the MMR vaccine and are not fully protected. You will need to check on your vaccine status. If your records are unavailable, we can do a measles immunity test, or you could just get an extra dose of the vaccine. An extra dose of the vaccine is quite safe.
We will update our recommendations as this epidemic plays out.
You can see the CDC response at: http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00376.asp