JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization say nearly 40 million children missed a measles vaccine dose last year.
They also detect ongoing outbreaks in more than 20 countries right now.
A Jacksonville pediatrician said Jacksonville is fortunate because measles is one of the more reportable diseases.
But Dr. Ashraf Affan said that doesn’t mean we can slack off on immunizations -- because nationally we are seeing more cases.
Last year, there were about 9 million measles infections and 128,000 deaths worldwide.
Affan, the CEO of Angel Kids Pediatrics, said this is preventable.
“Measles is one of the very much contagious diseases around the world. And we have to be very careful about combating that disease, otherwise, it’s going to be spreading and taking lives,” Affan said.
The disease is mostly spread through direct contact or in the air and can cause fever, rashes or muscle pain.
We’re told the lack of vaccination could be because of a lack of monitoring of the disease, as well as the uncertainty about vaccines following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This particular vaccine among all other vaccines is very safe,” Affan said. “Every doctor’s office, they have the opportunity for people, even now, people can get their vaccines for their kids in pharmacies. So, there is no reason for us to be -- particularly here in the United States -- to be behind in vaccines for kids.”
Officials warn these delays could be deadly.
Studies show the two-dose vaccine is about 97% effective in preventing death or illness.
More than 95% of measles deaths happen in developing countries in areas like Asia and Africa.
Pediatricians said it should still be taken seriously here.
You can contact your child’s pediatrician or a family care doctor on how to get a measles vaccine.