Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society urges patients to take measles seriously, get vaccinated

Massachusetts Medical Society urges patients to take measles seriously, get vaccinated

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were 62 confirmed cases of measles in the United States. The CDC report came just days after the World Health Organization warned that more than half of the world’s nations are at elevated risk of enduring a measles outbreak in 2024.

The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society encourage patients to take this information seriously and wish to underscore that measles is highly contagious and, if contracted, can lead to serious health consequences and even death. The disease is especially dangerous to children and those who are immunocompromised.

We strongly urge all Massachusetts families to make sure they are up to date on their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinations, which, according to CDC guidelines, are to be administered in two doses – one at around 12 to 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. The majority of cases in the U.S. are among unvaccinated children 12 months or older, which is particularly concerning given that children could transmit the disease in childcare or school settings.

The measles vaccination is safe and effective and helped to effectively eliminate the disease in the United States in 2000, but decreasing vaccination rates present a threat for the disease to have a pocketed or widespread resurgence.

The Massachusetts Medical Society reaffirms its organizational policy in support of eliminating non-medical vaccine exemptions for all settings in which vaccines are required in Massachusetts, including in schools. The MMS continues to advocate for the passage of legislation (H.604/S.1391) that would strengthen the health of communities by ensuring that children who attend Massachusetts schools and daycares are up to date on required immunizations. By eliminating exemptions not necessitated by underlying medical conditions, we can reduce the probability that lives will be endangered by vaccine-preventable disease.

We encourage parents and guardians who are vaccine-hesitant to ask questions and raise concerns with us about measles and immunizations. Families who plan to travel internationally should contact their pediatrician several months before the trip to get recommended vaccines.

-Barbara S. Spivak, MD, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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