Health officials recommend adults check immunization records
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County health officials urged residents today to be aware of their vaccination status as the nationwide measles outbreak persists.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residents born prior to 1957 are essentially immune due to the disease’s widespread nature when they were young. Residents born between 1957 and 1963 may need to receive the vaccine again because early versions were not as effective as the current vaccine.
For all others, including children and infants, the CDC and San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency say it’s important to ensure their measles-mumps-rubella vaccination status is up to date. While the measles outbreak has yet to affect San Diego County, an up-to-date vaccination status will be helpful if a local resident is exposed to a contagious measles host.
“Fortunately, the MMR vaccination is available and in ample supply,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Adults with questions about their vaccination history should contact their medical provider and, if necessary, schedule a vaccination.”
The current nationwide measles outbreak is the largest on record in at least 25 years, according to the CDC, which has confirmed more than 700 cases across the country. In California, 38 measles cases have been confirmed in 11 counties.
Measles cases have been confirmed in Los Angeles and Orange counties in recent days, causing the Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health to quarantine hundreds of UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles students and faculty members who may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease.
“San Diego County’s Public Health Department works closely with the local college community on vaccinations,” Wooten said. “I’m confident that my colleagues on campus know the importance of immunizations and maintaining records, but this outbreak happening for now outside our county’s borders is a good reminder for us all.”
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the deputy public health officer for San Diego County said if you are not sure about your vaccination history, you should contact your doctor.
“The best place to check on your vaccination record is to talk to your doctor to see if they have it recorded in their chart and they can look it up in our immunization registry, which records vaccines that are given and sometimes records vaccines that were given even decades ago, before we had that registry,” Sidelinger said.
If in doubt, Sidelinger said it does no harm to obtain a MMR vaccine as an extra dose of prevention. “An extra dose of vaccine is better than no dose of vaccine.”
According to the California Department of Health, there have been 38 reported cases of the disease in 11 California counties this year, but none reported in San Diego County.
Public health officials are warning that moviegoers who attended a showing of Avengers: Endgame at a Fullerton theater last Thursday may have been exposed to a woman with measles.