The Your Risk Assessment & Shot Decider
By Scott Hamstra, STC Medical Doctor
We all know about getting kids vaccinated against measles –
they get an MMR shot at 12-15 months and a second dose at 4-6 years old. But adults are asking…
Am I at risk?
And if I am, what do I do?
1st Start with your age…
BORN BEFORE 1957:
No worries. Measles was common — half a million Americans got measles every year, with 48,000 hospitalizations, 1000 encephalitis brain infections and 500 deaths – but YOU SURVIVED!
YOUR RISK: You are highly likely to be protected.
Two vaccines were introduced in the late fifties and they worked! Measles rates dropped! In 1967, the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella vaccine) became standard and worked even better. Public health officials began to see the possibility of measles being eradicated from the world like Smallpox, using the slogan “Measles Must Go.”
It looked good! Measles mostly disappeared – the graph drops nearly to the zero line.
Then, in 1989-1991, Measles staged a comeback! In response – the standard changed to 2 vaccine doses! And – It worked again – measles in the USA were essentially eliminated!!
Here’s the bottom-line for you if born between 1957-1989:
YOUR RISK: Sorry, you do have some risk, even if you got the single vaccine.
What to do? You should act to protect yourself: You could…
- Have a blood test to determine if you’re protected.
(Expect to pay about $50 for the test, plus the doctor’s visit.)
- Get a MMR booster.
(The vaccine costs about $75, but is likely to be covered by insurance.)
BORN 1990 or later:
Single dose MMR wasn’t good enough to prevent the mini-epidemic, so a second dose was introduced, raising the effectiveness to 97%. So, if you were born 1990 or later…
YOUR RISK: If you got the two dose MMR, YOU’RE SAFE!
But . . . if you’re wondering: Did I get the two-dose vaccination?
Your parents or your pediatrician might be able to answer the question.
Your State Public Health Department might have the answer. Vaccinations must be reported the experts, the folks tasked with monitoring diseases and epidemics.
If you live in West Virginia, Arizona, Washington state, Louisiana, Maryland, or Indiana you are able to gain access to your vaccine record at the state vaccination registry.
To sign up: In Indiana, go to MyVaxIndiana.in.gov, and in the other four states, go to MyIR.net.
Anywhere in the U.S. you can check with your health care professional (doctor or pharmacist) who has access to state vaccine records. The health care provider can query the state registry to get this information. Also, check with your pharmacist – many of them (including Walmart, Albertsons, Bartell Drug and independents with PioneerRX) now have direct access to your data in the state registry.
Vax Stats of the Month
A Good Start:
“Hot Spots” for Unisnured Children
By Bill Davenhall, Geomedicine Analyst, STC Health Analyst
The National Center for Health Statistics recently released estimated health insurance coverage rates for the US population from their National Health Interview Survey conducted over the first 9 months of 2018. It reveals that about 30 million Americans of all ages were uninsured during that period – that’s a 9.2% uninsured rate. This is about 19 million fewer people uninsured than back in 2010. Perhaps an encouraging trend, despite all the contention swirling around healthcare insurance “reform”.
Children however are the one segment of the population who don’t get to make decisions about where they are born, to whom, and what healthcare plan they will have, if any. The question then becomes, How do we make sure all the children get a “good start? Children receiving a “good start” in life means making sure kids get needed healthcare, like immunizations. Trying to count the kids that don’t get that “good start” is an operational imperative for those that operate health programs for children. At the time of this survey an estimated 3.6 million (4.9%) children under 18 years of age had no health insurance coverage available to them in the first 9 months of 2018. Nada. Some children however did have limited coverage but for a shorter time period, while others had been without any health insurance coverage for more than a year.
The map reveals where the “hot spots” for needed child health advocacy — the pockets of those estimated 3.6 million children that have no health insurance coverage. Visualization of the large number of counties were a “good start” challenge appears operationally manageable (in terms of the absolute number of children needing coverage), is striking. There are also several dozen counties in a relatively few numbers of places, that will have a much larger challenge getting kids off to a “good start.”
Source: Health Insurance Coverage: “Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey”, January-September 2018; Released: February 2019. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/releases.thm
Additional Note: The range of Health Insurance coverage estimated rates vary widely dependent on the State plan options where the child resides (3.0 – 6.3%); and the poverty level of the family they are part of (6.1 -8.2%). The NCHS report contains detailed descriptions of these differences.