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VERIFY: Do older adults need to get the measles vaccine?

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. logo WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 4/19/2019 Rhea Titus
A senior adult receives a vaccine on Friday, September, 6, 2013. (Rick Wilson/AP Images) © AP IMAGES A senior adult receives a vaccine on Friday, September, 6, 2013. (Rick Wilson/AP Images)

The WUSA9 Verify squad works to get you answers to the important things you question.

With the third measles case confirmed in Maryland and the outbreak across the country, a viewer born in 1945 asked if older adults who never had measles should get the MMR vaccine?

a screenshot of a cell phone: Measles Cases in 2019 © CDC Measles Cases in 2019

To get the facts, our researchers went to experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health.

According to the CDC, most people born in the U.S. before 1957, before the vaccine was available, are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore they are presumed to be protected against measles. 

But Maryland Department of Health officials say adults born before 1957 could be at an increased risk for exposure to measles if they plan on traveling to or have been in contact with people from areas with measles outbreaks.

Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University told Verify researchers, "If older adults are unsure whether they ever had natural measles infection or whether they had received the recommended two doses of MM and they are in a circumstance where they might be exposed to measles,they could request a dose of MMR vaccine. This is more an individual decision rather than a broad public health recommendation."

So after speaking with our experts, we verified older adults born before 1957 typically don't need to get the measles vaccine.


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