Measles vaccinations given in ’70s and ’80s may have worn off by now, doctor warns

Measles vaccinations given in ’70s and ’80s may have worn off by now, doctor warns


If you were vaccinated for measles in the 1970s or ’80s, there’s a chance the protection has worn off by now, some doctors are warning.

Amid the current measles outbreak in Florida, USF College of Public Health associate professor Jill Roberts spoke to FOX 13 in Tampa about the possibility of legacy vaccines becoming less effective over time.

The measles vaccine was first introduced in 1968.

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Three years later, in 1971, the MMR vaccine made its debut. 

This combination vaccine provides a trifecta of protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

If you were vaccinated for measles in the ‘70s or ’80s, there’s a chance the protection has worn off by now, some doctors are warning. (iStock)

A couple of decades after the release of the MMR vaccine, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. 

For those who received measles vaccinations in the ‘70s and ’80s — mainly people currently in their 40s and 50s — Roberts recommends checking with a health care provider about their status.

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“There’s absolutely no risk in getting another MMR, so if you don’t know, just go get another shot,” she advised. “They’re inexpensive and widely available.”

Measles is a highly contagious virus for those who have not previously been infected or vaccinated, Roberts warned — with up to a 90% chance of transmission.

MMR vaccine

For those who received measles vaccinations in the ‘70s and ’80s — mainly people who are currently in their 40s and 50s — Roberts recommends checking with a health care provider about immune status. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Dr. Jacob Glanville, a virology expert and founder of Centivax, a San Francisco pharmaceutical company, warned about recent outbreaks in under-vaccinated communities. 

“If you have ever received the MMR vaccine, you likely still have immunity, although talk to your doctor about a measles titer test if you have concerns,” he told Fox News Digital.

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The titer test measures an individual’s level of immunity to the virus.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, emphasized the importance of measles vaccinations — “particularly with the amount of circulating measles virus and underimmunized people coming into the U.S. at a time when there is a big measles surge around the world.”

measles outbreak skin

As of Feb. 29, a total of 41 measles cases had been reported by 16 U.S. jurisdictions. (iStock)

“This is not yet an official suggestion anywhere, but I do check measles titers in many of my patients, and if they are low, I may give a booster as a precaution,” he told Fox News Digital.  

“The protection from the original vaccines may wear off over time.”

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As of Feb. 29, a total of 41 measles cases had been reported by 16 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.



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