The health centers have been answering the many doubts that have arisen lately about the measles vaccine. The first thing that doctors clarify is that there is no health alert in the World nor has there been a modification of the vaccination calendar. These are the main questions posed by users to specialists:
How can I know if I have to get vaccinated against measles?
To begin, find out if you are vaccinated. If you are under 40 years old, you have received, almost certainly, the two recommended doses of the triple viral vaccine, which is administered during childhood following the guidelines of the vaccination schedule.
But if you are between 40 and 50 years old, it is not as likely that you will be immunized against this infection, since in the 70s of the last century the vaccination coverage was very irregular. Ask your parents if they remember it.
Secondly, consult your family or try to remember if you have passed the disease, which for practical purposes confers protection against infection equivalent to vaccination. Therefore, given that measles rates were much higher before 1970 due to the absence of the immunization system at that time, it is assumed that a very significant proportion of those over 50 have suffered from the disease and do not need the vaccine.
In conclusion: if you are between 40 and 50 years old and you are not vaccinated against measles or have had this viral infection it would be advisable to discuss with your doctor the possibility of receiving both doses of the triple viral.
It should be noted that no vaccine is mandatory, but the vaccine coverage is very high because both doctors and the general population understand that it is a highly effective public health measure.
The measles vaccine is included in the common lifelong vaccination schedule, approved by the Ministry of Health in 2018.
What happens if I don’t know if I’m vaccinated or have had the disease?
Isabel Jimeno, responsible for the Vaccine Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians, asserts that, in case of doubt, it is always better to vaccinate than not to do so and understands that many patients do not know for sure what their status. “Nothing happens if the vaccine is given again to someone who had already received it or had already suffered the disease,” he says.
Can a blood test determine if I am vaccinated or have had the infection?
Although it is possible to find out using a serology, a study that allows to verify the presence of antibodies against a certain disease in the blood, if someone is vaccinated against measles or has suffered it, it makes no sense to do so. In the absence of adverse effects due to revaccination, it is cheaper for the public system – it must be remembered that there is a funded vaccination coverage – to administer the vaccine than to do a serology.
Can pregnant women get vaccinated?
Measles vaccine cannot be given to pregnant women. Some vaccines are suitable for pregnant women and are even highly recommended to avoid problems of the mother or the fetus. But this is not the case with the viral triple.
Is the measles vaccine losing effectiveness over time?
No vaccine is 100% effective, but the two doses of the triple viral stipulated in the vaccination schedule are considered to confer protection for a lifetime. Once again, fewer vaccines are diluted over time, which makes revaccination necessary.
Why there are so much talk about measles in recent times?
Measles is on everyone’s lips lately because of the confluence of two factors: on the one hand, the Ministry of Health and epidemiology experts have recalled the recommendation that the entire population is covered by the measles vaccine. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the increase in measles cases in Europe that began in 2018 has continued in 2019. The approximately 90,000 cases reported on the continent during the first half of this year they exceed the total figure registered in 2018, which reached 84,462.
The Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare recalled a few days ago that Spain is a country declared free of endemic transmission of measles since 2016. “The existence of a common lifelong vaccination schedule contributes greatly to maintaining high vaccination rates, preventing preventable diseases and providing us with greater epidemiological control,” he insisted.