Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken today urged Suffolk County residents to check their immunization status and those of their children to make sure they are up to date.
“This year we will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week, an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine preventable diseases,” said County Executive Bellone. “Immunizations help protect not only those who are vaccinated but also the larger community.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend children receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at age 12-15 months, and again at 4-6 years. High immunization rates in a community will help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, including infants under 12 months of age. These infants are at the highest risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death due to measles.
Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Health Services, said: “The measles virus is one of the most contagious viruses in humans and it can cause serious illness. The measles vaccine is safe and effective. Parents who delay immunization thinking they are protecting their young children may actually be putting them at risk. Immunization schedules change periodically, so we recommend that all parents ask their healthcare providers to determine what immunizations are recommended for their children and when they should be getting them.”
Parents of children who are uninsured, underinsured or don’t have a primary healthcare provider may contact the Suffolk County Shots for Tots program, also known as the Immunization Action Plan (IAP). Immunizations are available to children on specific IAP dates. The dates can be found here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from January 1 to April 4, 2019, 465 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
Additionally, measles is still common in many parts of the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, an estimated 20 million people get measles and 146,000 people, mostly children, die from the disease each year. Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers – including Americans or foreign visitors – who contract measles while they are in other countries.
The last reported case of measles in Suffolk County was in an individual who acquired it overseas in 2017. Families who are traveling overseas are advised to check with their healthcare providers before leaving the country.
To view easy-to-read immunization schedules for all ages, visit:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html
To learn more about measles and the measles vaccine, visit:https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/child/measles.html