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Mon, May 20

Measles vaccinations prevent outbreaks and school disruptions

Yavapai County Health Services recommends summer as an ideal time to have school-age children vaccinated.
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Yavapai County Health Services recommends summer as an ideal time to have school-age children vaccinated.

PRESCOTT – For most adults 50 and older, and most school-aged children, measles is not a dreaded disease because they are vaccinated it against it before they even enter kindergarten, according to local health officials.

Yet the Arizona Department of Health has confirmed 14 cases in the state, 13 in Pinal County and one in Maricopa County.

Yavapai County Community Health Services has had no reported cases as of June 10.

Community Health Services Public Affairs Officer David McAtee said measles outbreaks remain rare because of the easy availability of standard immunizations – known as the MMR – that protect against measles, mumps and Rubella, or German measles. There is also a standard vaccination against chicken pox. McAtee said these vaccinations are usually given to children prior to entering kindergarten and again in sixth grade.

Summer is an ideal time for families to arrange to have their school-age children vaccinated, with most insurances covering the cost of any such pediatric vaccinations. For those without insurance, McAtee said the Health Services department will offer them at no charge.

Beyond the discomfort and disruption to one’s immune system caused by a case of the measles, McAtee said vaccinations assure that a child’s school routine is not disrupted if another classmate ends up with a confirmed case of the measles. Otherwise, any child exposed to a case who has not yet been immunized must stay home for 21 days, McAtee said.

“We don’t want anyone to get the measles,” McAtee said, noting in rare cases measles have proved fatal to children with compromised immune systems. “It is such an easy fix. Just go get the MMR and be done with it.”

For more information about measles or immunizations, contact the Yavapai County Community Health Services at 928-771-3122.

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