Back to Top Skip to main content

Measles vaccine protects against potentially serious illness

A Salvadoran nurse vaccinates a baby during a Task Force Northstar mission in El Salvador to provide medical care and other humanitarian and civic assistance. The mission involved U.S. military personnel working alongside their Brazilian, Canadian, Chilean, and Salvadoran counterparts. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Kim Browne) A Salvadoran nurse vaccinates a baby during a Task Force Northstar mission in El Salvador to provide medical care and other humanitarian and civic assistance. The mission involved U.S. military personnel working alongside their Brazilian, Canadian, Chilean, and Salvadoran counterparts. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Kim Browne)

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health

In the midst of a measles outbreak in the United States, public health officials are urging parents to get their children vaccinated, and for parents to make sure they're up to date on their own vaccinations.

As of March 28, there have been 387 confirmed cases of the potentially serious illness this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Rockland County, New York, officials announced a temporary ban on unvaccinated people gathering in enclosed public spaces, reporting that more than 80 percent of the individuals with measles had not been vaccinated.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. The virus, which is spread by air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, can remain in the air for up to two hours after the infected individual leaves.

The vaccine to protect against measles is called the MMR vaccine because it also protects against mumps and rubella. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended, said Dr. Margaret Ryan, a retired Navy captain and the medical director of the Pacific Region Vaccine Safety Hub of the Defense Health Agency's Immunization Healthcare Branch.

According to the CDC, two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles, and one dose is about 93 percent effective.

"The MMR vaccine is a requirement for joining the service," Ryan said. "And all military family members should get the MMR vaccine along with other vaccines recommended by public health authorities such as the CDC. We strongly encourage and support protecting beneficiaries this way."

Noting that the DHA follows CDC recommendations, Ryan said children should get the first dose of the MMR vaccine at age 12 to 15 months. The second dose follows at least 28 days later, but usually between the ages of 4 and 6.

Adults who didn't receive two vaccine doses in childhood should also get at least one dose, she said.

"Those who are uncertain of their childhood vaccination history can get a blood test to confirm they're protected, or get the MMR vaccine," Ryan said. "Generally, it's safe to get extra doses."

The MMR vaccine is especially important for those who are traveling overseas. According to the World Health Organization, while deaths from measles have decreased significantly in recent years, the illness remains common, particularly in developing countries. According to the CDC, many of the recent U.S. cases of measles have been linked to visits to Israel, Ukraine, and other countries where large outbreaks have occurred.

People who should not get the vaccine include those who are pregnant, immune-compromised, or allergic to a component of the MMR vaccine, Ryan said. According to the CDC, allergic reactions are rare – about 1 in a million doses – and would occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

Some parents mistakenly believe the MMR vaccine is connected to autism spectrum disorders. However, a large body of scientific research has proven there is no link between vaccines and the developmental disorder, even in children at high risk.

While most people don't experience side effects from receiving the MMR vaccine, some may get a mild fever or redness, swelling, or pain at the injection site, Ryan said.

"These kinds of symptoms are less common after the second dose," she said, "and if they occur, they usually resolve over a few days."

Coming down with measles is uncomfortable at best. The illness causes a rash and high fever. Further, approximately 30 percent of measles patients have complications including pneumonia or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. Ryan said about 1 in every 500 people who contract measles dies of the infection.

CDC data showed 372 cases in the civilian population in 2018. In 2017, there were no confirmed measles cases in the Military Health System, compared with 120 in the civilian population. The October 2017 Medical Surveillance Monthly Report includes data from 2010 to 2016 and can be accessed here.

You also may be interested in...

Army Medicine in thick of war on antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Article
2/2/2018
This strain of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is magnified 50,000 times.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls antibiotic resistance one of the world's most pressing public health problems

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare

Cold and influenza season is underway – and it’s nothing to ‘shake off’

Article
1/12/2018
Cold and flu season usually runs from October to March, and peaks between December and February. Young children, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions have a higher risk for complications. Military Health System experts encourage everyone to take steps to prevent these viral illnesses from spreading. (U.S. Army photo by photo by Rachel Larue)

Military Health System experts share advice on how to prevent, treat, and distinguish between these two viral illnesses

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Immunizations | Children's Health

Antibiotics not the answer for common cold

Article
12/21/2017
Antibiotics should only be used to treat bacterial infections, not viral infections as they will not work against upper respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)

Antibiotics should only be used to treat bacterial infections, not viral infections

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare

Immunization Healthcare Branch outreach initiatives

Article
12/6/2017
Navy Lt. Jessica Miller, a certified nurse midwife in Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s pregnancy Integrated Practice Unit, assesses a patient. A key education initiative for the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch involved outreach to new parents or soon-to-be parents to address any questions or concerns they have about vaccines recommended during pregnancy, infancy or childhood. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

A key education initiative for the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch involved outreach to new parents or soon-to-be parents

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare

Global Routine Vaccination Coverage, 2016

Report
11/17/2017

An update on the Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020, which calls on all countries to reach routine immunization coverage of 90 percent or greater.

Recommended Content:

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Vaccine Schedules

Country Immunization Information System Assessments — Kenya, 2015 and Ghana, 2016

Report
11/10/2017

The availability, quality, and use of immunization data are widely considered to form the foundation of successful national immunization programs. Assessments in Kenya and Ghana identified some common problems and larger systemic challenges that could explain the root causes.

Recommended Content:

Vaccine Schedules | Immunization Tracking Systems (ITS) | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Progress in Childhood Vaccination Data in Immunization Information Systems — United States, 2013–2016

Report
11/3/2017

From 2013 to 2016, the percentage of children with ≥2 immunizations recorded in immunization registries increased from 90% to 94%. Registries are a valuable tool for facilitating complete vaccination of U.S. children.

Recommended Content:

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Immunization Tracking Systems (ITS) | Vaccine Schedules

Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2016

Report
11/3/2017

Coverage with most recommended vaccines remained stable and high in 2016. Disparities in vaccine coverage in children were found by race, poverty status and insurance status.

Recommended Content:

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Schedules

Surveillance Snapshot: Influenza Immunization among U.S. Armed Forces Healthcare Workers, August 2012 – April 2017

Infographic
10/31/2017
Did you know …?  During the 2016 – 2017 influenza season, each of the three services attained greater than 94% compliance among healthcare personnel. The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all healthcare personnel be vaccinated against influenza to protect themselves and their patients. The Joint Commission requires that healthcare organizations have influenza vaccination programs for practitioners and staff, and that they work toward the goal of 90 percent receipt of influenza vaccine. This snapshot of a five-year surveillance period (August 2012 – April 2017) shows  that the active component healthcare personnel of the Army, Navy, and Air Force has exceeded the percentage compliance with influenza immunization requirement in each year. •	Line graph showing the percentage of healthcare specialists and officers with records of influenza vacation by influenza year (1 August through 30 April) and service, active, U.S. Armed Forces, August 2012 – April 2017 displays. Access the full snapshot in MSMR Vol. 24 No. 10 October 2017 at Health.mil/MSMR There are two photos featured on the infographic: 1.	A service member being vaccinated with the flu vaccine displays  2.	A photo of vaccine administrators shows.

This snapshot of a five-year surveillance period (August 2012 – April 2017) details influenza immunization compliance among the active component healthcare personnel of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Immunization Healthcare | Influenza Seasonal

Timeliness of Receipt of Early Childhood Vaccinations Among Children of Immigrants — Minnesota, 2016

Report
10/27/2017

Up-to-date vaccination status was lower among children with at least one foreign-born parent compared with that of children with two U.S.-born parents.

Recommended Content:

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Schedules

Cancer vaccine for youth is effective, safe

Article
10/25/2017
The HPV vaccine is very safe, and most people don’t have any problems or side effects. Studies have shown the vaccine caused HPV rates to decline 64 percent among teenaged girls ages 14 to 19, and 34 percent among women ages 20 to 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High)

Experts share what parents need to know about the HPV vaccine

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Women's Health

Midwives expand women's options

Article
10/19/2017
Valerie Miller, nurse midwife, Department of Women’s Health Services, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, holds a newborn baby while she conducts a group prenatal care session with parents of newborns to discuss concerns, expectations and answer any questions the couples may have regarding their birthing experience. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, in 2014, 8.3 percent of all U.S. births were delivered by CNMs

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Women's Health

Sleepy teen? Military sleep specialist says help is available

Article
10/16/2017
Electronic devices play a significant role in keeping teenaged children from the sleep they need to remain healthy and productive. (Courtesy photo)

Sagging grades, behavior problems could point to sleep deprivation

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

Don’t give flu a fighting chance; get the flu shot

Article
10/10/2017
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Gerich Curtom (left), administers a flu shot to Builder 2nd Class Charles Scheck at Naval Air Station North Island’s medical clinic. There are many different strains of flu virus, and they can often mutate quickly, presenting a challenge in keeping everyone healthy and maintaining optimal immunity, and making it necessary to get immunized annually. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean P. Lenahan)

Influenza presents a disease threat almost every year, and annual immunization continues to be the best way to avoid that threat

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Influenza Seasonal

Advice to young athletes: A variety of sports is the spice of life

Article
9/25/2017
Children participate in a sports clinic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The installation partnered with the YMCA of Pikes Peak Region to teach young athletes the fundamentals of baseball, gymnastics, soccer, and basketball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Wes Wright)

Young athletes who focus on one sport instead of sampling a variety are more likely to suffer overuse injuries

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Physical Activity
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 10

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing; Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.