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Why You Should Get the Measles Vaccine

Why You Should Get the Measles Vaccine

Measles outbreaks in the U.S. are underlining why MMR vaccines are necessary.

In the 2007 horror film, I Am Legend, a U.S. virologist (Will Smith) lives in post-apocalyptic New York City, where a genetically re-engineered measles virus (created to cure cancer) has mutated and turned everyone but him into a zombie. He is somehow immune to the virus and plans to use his own blood to stop it in its tracks.

In reality, the only way to stop it in its tracks is with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is both safe and effective. It’s why the disease was declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000!

While only about one person in ten thousand have a serious problem from the vaccine, for every ten thousand people who get the vaccine, one person is prevented from having a life-threatening or disabling reaction to the disease. But America is currently facing multistate measles outbreaks that show no sign of slowing down, thanks to false information about vaccine risks and an increase in international travel.

Taking a shot at avoiding measles: If you’re an adult born after 1957 (before that almost everyone had the measles), and unsure if you were vaccinated, ask your doctor for a blood test that detects measles antibodies. If you weren’t vaccinated, get the two-shot MMR now. Even if you were vaccinated, folks born between 1957 and 1989 generally had one dose and should get the second dose, which will boost immunity from 93 to 97 percent.

Exposed or at risk: Nonimmunized people, including babies, gain protection if vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure.

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