Bay Area health officials urging public to get vaccinated as measles cases rise

Lauren Martinez Image
Saturday, March 30, 2024
Bay Area health officials warn public as measles cases rise
Health officers from all nine Bay Area counties and others are urging the public to be up to date on measles vaccinations.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Several Bay Area health officials are releasing a unified message: Be vigilant as measles cases rise.

Kismet Baldwin-Santana is the health officer of San Mateo County.

"A lot of times when we're putting out statements there's already a situation happening. This was really an opportunity for us to be more proactive, do what we really want to do and prevent cases, prevent larger situations from developing," Baldwin-Santana said.

Health officers from all nine Bay Area counties and others are urging the public to be up to date on measles vaccinations.

MORE: Measles could be easier to get than COVID-19, UCSF doctor says: Here's his warning as cases rise

The message is particularly important for anyone traveling internationally out of the Bay Area's three major airports.

"We are a hub for international travel here in the Bay Area and we know that people are going to be traveling internationally for spring break with their families with their friends and so what we really want to make people aware of is that there are measles cases in other parts of the world," Baldwin-Santana said.

The CDC says 90% of measles cases in the U.S. is linked to international travel.

Most cases reported this year have been among children 12 months and older who had not received the measles mumps rubella vaccine.

MORE: San Leandro measles case contracted during international travel, health officials say

Dr. Jason Nagata, a pediatrician with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, says measles presents the greatest risk for children under five years-old.

"In general in the Bay Area, we're pretty good about vaccination rates but that being said we're not perfect and many kids got behind during the pandemic. Their immune systems and respiratory systems aren't as robust as older children and adults," Nagata said.

The CDC says MMR vaccines are 97% effective against measles.

Dr. Kyle Graham, an OBGYN with Peatrix Medical Group, says they always check to see if immunity from the vaccine is still valid in expecting mothers.

MORE: Why are measles cases popping up across the US? What to know about the highly contagious virus

"We have been getting a lot more inquiries about measles vaccination and the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is actually something we check in every pregnant woman to see that their vaccination status is. It's actually not a vaccine we administer during pregnancy but it is safe to administer after pregnancy," Dr. Graham said.

Dr. Graham says one series of immunizations provides lifelong immunity.

For anyone traveling or might be in a community that's under vaccinated, or not vaccinated, Dr. Graham says its particularly important to get vaccinated or check your status.

"There will be some people that will need to get a booster, to be honest I needed a booster - so if you want to be certain that your vaccine is still valid and still working, you can definitely talk with your doctor about doing a simple blood test," Dr. Graham said.

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