Home HEALTH Can you still get measles if you’ve been vaccinated?

Can you still get measles if you’ve been vaccinated?

THE number of measles cases in the U.S. continues to climb, with more than 550 cases reported from January to April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s the second highest number of measles cases reported in any year since 2000, the CDC says. Many of this year’s cases occurred as part of ongoing measles outbreaks in several U.S. cities, and most infected people were unvaccinated, according to the CDC. But if you’ve been vaccinated, can you still catch the disease?
Although it is possible to get the measles even if you’ve been vaccinated, it’s quite rare: Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine — which are given as part of the standard U.S. childhood vaccination schedule — are 97% effective at preventing measles, according to the CDC. This means that about 3% of people who receive two doses of the measles vaccine will get measles if they are exposed to the virus.
It’s not clear why some fully vaccinated people get measles, but it could be that their immune system did not respond properly to the vaccine, the CDC says.
In addition, some people may be at a slightly higher risk of getting measles because they received only one dose of the MMR vaccine. Although the measles vaccine was developed in 1963, it wasn’t until 1989 that health officials recommended that a child receive two doses, according to the CDC.
This means there are “many people who are adults now who only received one dose” of MMR, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. One dose of MMR is still more than 90% effective at preventing measles, but it’s not quite as good as two doses, Adalja said.
Adults who received only one dose of MMR as a child could consider getting a second dose, Adalja told Live Science. In situations where there are outbreaks going on, “I don’t think its a bad idea,” he said.
In addition, some people who received the measles vaccine in the 1960s may need to be revaccinated. That’s because, between 1963 and 1967, some people received a form of the measles vaccine known as the “inactivated” (killed) vaccine, which was not effective, according to the CDC. People who received this form of the vaccine, or were vaccinated before 1968 and don’t know what vaccine type they got, should be revaccinated with the current “live attenuated” form of the vaccine, the CDC says.
Another question people may have is whether the vaccine’s protection wanes over time. Generally, people who’ve received two doses of MMR are considered protected for life, meaning they don’t need a booster shot, according to the CDC.