The Measles Vaccine Isn't Perfect, But It's Better Than Alternative

In the 2007 horror film "I Am Legend," a U.S. virologist (Will Smith) lives in post-apocalyptic New York City, where a genetically re-engineered measles virus (created to cure cancer) has mutated and turned everyone but him into a zombie. He is somehow immune to the virus and plans to use his own blood to stop it in its tracks.

In reality, the only way to stop it in its tracks is with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, which is both safe and effective. It's why the disease was declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000!

While only about 1 person in 10 million has a serious problem from the vaccine, for every 10,000 people who get the vaccine, one person is prevented from having a life-threatening or disabling reaction to the disease. But America is currently facing multistate measles outbreaks that show no signs of slowing down, thanks to false information about vaccine risks and an increase in international travel.

Take a shot at avoiding measles: If you're an adult born after 1957 (before that almost everyone had the measles), and unsure if you were vaccinated, ask your doctor for a blood test that detects measles antibodies. If you weren't vaccinated, get the two-shot MMR now. Even if you were vaccinated, folks born between 1957 and 1989 generally had one dose and should get the second dose, which will boost immunity from 93% to 97%.

Exposed or at risk: Nonimmunized people, including babies, gain protection if vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure.

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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