NY Travel Clinic

Measles Vaccine

Should you Accept or Deny your Children the Measles Vaccine?

It is extremely important to ensure that your child is fully immunized for measles. Measles is a highly contagious disease and can have serious health impact on your child. The only way you can protect your children from this disease is to ensure they are immunized.

Most people think that measles will simply result in a high fever in children, a cough and runny nose and red spots on the skin. However, parents should be aware that in some serious cases, measles could result in pneumonia, encephalitis and even death. Moreover, measles is highly contagious and the chance of everyone around the infected person contracting measles is around 90 percent.

The biggest advantage of a measles vaccination is that it offers your child protection from the disease. That is a primary reason why measles is not common in the US but many parents in other parts of the world such as Europe, Asia and Africa deny their children this protection thus making the disease fairly common there.

The measles vaccine protects your child against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). There is no reason to deny the child this vaccine since it has been proven to be both safe and effective. The CDC recommends two doses of the measles vaccine – first when the child is 12 to 15 months of age and second between 4 to 6 years.

Many parents fear that the vaccine may have side effects or may cause an allergic reaction in their child. However, there is no basis for this logic as the vaccine is proven to be safe in babies 12 months and older. That does not mean that the vaccine will cause some reaction in babies younger than 12 months but the current recommendation is that the first dose be given to babies between 12 and 15 months. Some parents deny their child proper immunization because of fear of needle pain or an overall apprehension about vaccinations in general but again, evidence shows that the minimal pain of a shot is not reason enough to put the child at risk of a disease that could lead to further complications.

Even if parents believe that their ix month old child has been exposed to the infection, they should immediately take their child to a doctor as the baby can be protected from full infection if he or she is given the MMR vaccine within 72 hours of exposure to the virus. For babies under six months of age, there is the immunoglobulin treatment that can be given within six days of measles exposure. The point is that there is no reason to deny a child this protection. Even if the vaccine is not recommended in children under 12 months, if there is risk of exposure, the vaccine can protect your child from full infection.

Immunization is there to protect children, not to harm them and there is no reason to let unqualified statements and personal opinion put children at risk.