Measles can be a significant public health risks for children and adults that aren’t adequately protected. But how do you know if your kindergartner is or isn’t at risk for measles infection?
At least one case of measles has been reported in Colorado during 2019 as more and more communities experience outbreaks (multiple cases) across the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that more than 760 cases have been reported this year.
The trends in measles cases suggests that a greater number of adults and children are not adequately vaccinated for the disease. The CDC states that there are three major factors for the spread of measles in the U.S including:
- Greater anti-vaccination (anti-vaxxer) campaign activity in the U.S: even though measles does not cause harmful effects on the body, autism, or other false claims many people still try to spread harmful rumors about vaccination safety. Additionally, the CDC and World Health Organization cite anti-vaxxers as a top 10 global health threat.
- Increased international travel: Other countries across the world still experience regular measles outbreaks. This means that the surge in international travel over the last few years allows the disease to spread further globally.
- Lower vaccination rates: Generally, less and less families have vaccinated their children than in recent years. This resulted from a combination of anti-vaxxer campaigning, misinformation, and other mis-informed healthcare decisions made by parents.
Even with these trends though, are children in Denver at an increased risk for the disease? Measles disproportionately affects young children and vulnerable adults than vaccinated people.
But does the current measles outbreak push greater cause for concern for parents and their children located in Denver? The short answer may be yes, but measles can be prevented and safeguarded against with proper information and medical intervention:
Are kindergartners located in Denver at risk for measles?
Younger children age 5 and younger usually have a greater risk of catching measles than most other age groups. In Denver, this risk may be increased based on the opinions and estimations of public health experts.
The Denver Post reported that measles vaccinations among kindergartners is at an alarmingly low rate, which could lead to a large outbreak of measles in Denver. This is because vaccinations not only help to build immunity but they also reduce the ability of the disease to spread.
Per Dr. Edwin J. Asturias of the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado to The Post:
“We are going to have a large outbreak of measles.For almost a decade we have been accumulating people without protection,” said Asturias, an expert in infectious diseases and vaccines. “We are like a forest waiting to catch fire.”
“It’s a parent’s right to decide what medical procedures and products are used on their children,” added Theresa Wrangham of Louisville, executive director of the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center for The Post. “If people want to use vaccines, they should have access to them. Vaccines should be safe as possible, but they are not totally 100 percent safe.”
In Colorado, only 82 percent of all kindergartners are vaccinated with the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine (MMR). Having less than 95 percent of a population with a vaccine can lead to decreases in herd immunity and cause the disease to spread.
Unless parents proactively ensure their child gets their updated vaccinations, their young children could become a statistic in a growing public health crisis.
Get your child an updated vaccination at a nearby walk-in clinic or trusted medical provider
The best way to protect your kindergartner from the measles is to get an updated MMR vaccine based on CDC guidelines. These guidelines per the CDC are as follows:
- A child’s first dosage of the MMR vaccine should take place between 12 and 15 months of age. Make sure you get an updated vaccination schedule and history from you primary care provider, or a local medical professional, before scheduling.
- A child’s second dosage of the MMR vaccine takes place between the ages of 4 and 6 years old, which is right before and during kindergarten for most young children. Make sure to speak with a trusted medical professional to see if your child needs the vaccine sooner or later than normal.
- All children should generally receive the MMR vaccine during their lifetime because of the vaccine’s effectiveness. Two doses of the MMR vaccine is 97 percent against the measles. Just one dose for even younger children is 93 percent effective.
Measles doesn’t have to be a scary situation if you and your younger children are adequately protected from the disease. At AFC Urgent Care Denver we’ve provided some new guidelines to help you get your children safely vaccinated:
Step 1: Make sure you call your primary care provider, or a trusted medical professional, to immediately review your child’s vaccination history. Also look for public health updates from news sources and local media outlets.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment for a vaccination for your child whenever you know the date for your child’s needed vaccination. If your primary care provider is too busy to update your child’s vaccination find an alternative.
Step 3: Visit any AFC Urgent Care Denver clinic for an MMR vaccine. Our walk-in clinic in Denver Speer provides the MMR vaccine to any patient that requires it. Additionally, our other clinics can order the vaccine whenever a patient needs it.
Don’t let your child’s safety be delayed. Use any of the buttons below to schedule an appointment at anyone of our AFC Denver locations!