King County Public Health confirmed new cases of measles in King County this past week. Measles is highly contagious, and can be dangerous, especially for young children. Almost everyone who is not immune will contract measles if exposed to the measles virus. Rare, but serious, complications from measles include dehydration, pneumonia, intellectual disability caused by encephalitis (swelling of the brain), permanent hearing loss, and death. The best protection against the measles is to get vaccinated.
MMR Vaccine Schedule for Kids
Polyclinic providers will continue to administer the MMR vaccine to children at the current recommended schedule: 12-15 months, and 4-6 years of age. Infants 6 through 11 months may continue to receive the MMR vaccine if traveling internationally. The Department of Health will let providers know if these recommendations change.
Additional Vaccine Recommendations
At this time, King County Public Health does not advise additional boosters for people who have had two documented doses of the MMR vaccine (after 1968) or lab evidence of immunity (titers). They had these additional recommendations:
- If you know you never received the MMR vaccine, consult with your provider to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine series.
- If you received only one MMR vaccine between 1963-1968, consult with your provider to receive one dose of MMR vaccine.
- If you were born before 1957, no booster vaccine is recommended.
- If you are unsure about your vaccination status or cannot provide documentation, consult your provider to be tested for immunity (titers). Depending on the titers test result, you may be eligible for one or two doses of the MMR vaccine.
You can check your own or your family’s immunization records on MyIR to be certain you’re up-to-date on all recommended doses of the MMR vaccine. MyIR accesses the state database to pull immunization information. Other ways of requesting immunization records can be found on the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website.
For more information on measles or updated information on current measles cases in Washington, visit the DOH website.
MMR Vaccine Exemption Law Change 2019
In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that removes the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine required for school and child care entry. It also requires employees and volunteers at child care centers to provide immunization records indicating they have received the MMR vaccine or proof of immunity. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 10, 2019. For more information, visit the DOH website.
The recent measles outbreaks in Washington and the ongoing outbreaks across the United States demonstrate why the change to the vaccine exemption law will help keep Washington healthy and safe from three serious diseases. As the new law comes into effect, DOH will continue work in helping parents and the public understand the safety record of vaccines and the critical role they have in saving lives.