Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is one of the major global causes of death among children despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. This paper aims to examine measles as a disease comprehensively but in regard to its vaccines.
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Pathophysiology of Measles
Measles is caused by an RNA virus containing 1 serotype. The virus is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family (CDC, 2019). Human beings are the sole natural host of the virus. The virus is exceedingly communicable, as it has a secondary attack rate of 90% among susceptible individuals who have been exposed (CDC, 2019). Communicability commences four days before and continues through the four days after the rash appears. However, its communicability ceases when the rash starts to desquamate. Measles is spread through secretions produced in the nose, throat, and mouth during the early eruptive phase. Therefore, the transmission is mainly airborne in which the secretions are discharged by a cough and remains airborne for some time, thus can be inhaled.
Groups at Risk
Measles is a common disease in several parts of the world which including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific. However, the virus is not prevalent in the United States. Therefore, most measles cases in the U.S. are a consequence of international travel (CDC, 2019). This is facilitated when travellers who are infected in other countries spread the virus to individuals who have not been vaccinated, thus not protected against measles. Therefore, overall, any individual who is not vaccinated is at risk of getting infected.
Recommended Vaccination Schedule
According to CDC (2019), the recommended measles vaccination schedule varies among ages. For instance, infants that are 6-11 months old are required to have a single dose of the vaccine when travelling internationally. Moreover, in the United States, it is a requirement for children to receive 2 doses of measles vaccination upon attaining the age of 12-15 months. The doses have to be separated by a minimum of 28 days. Lastly, infants that are vaccinated before reaching 12 months must be revaccinated on or following the first birthday with 2 doses. The doses have to be separated by a minimum of 28 days.
Adolescents who have never received a vaccination require 2 doses of the vaccine. The doses are separated by a minimum of 28 days. Adults without evidence of measles immunity need at least 1 dose of the measles vaccine.
Routes of Administration
The MMR and MMRV vaccine dosage for both children and adults is 0.5mL in which both vaccines are administered subcutaneously (CDC, 2019). The anterolateral aspect of the thigh is the preferred injection site in infants and toddlers. However, for adolescents, the preferred location is the posterior aspect of the upper arm.
Contraindications to the Vaccine
Other live vaccines sometimes impede the effect of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) and MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella) vaccines. Therefore, it is advisable to administer the measles vaccines to individuals who have not received any vaccines in the past 4 weeks (CDC, 2019). This is mostly applicable in the case of young children. This is because it is at this age that an individual is usually vaccinated against several diseases.
The MMR and MMRV shots are usually very safe and effective in protecting an individual against measles. However, like any other medicine, vaccines can have side effects (CDC, 2019). Nevertheless, in most cases, most children show no side effects from the shot. The side effects which are manifested tend to be very mild and usually go away on their own. These include rash, fever, soreness or swelling on the injection site, and temporary pain and stiffness in the joints (usually occurs in teens and adults). Moreover, severe side effects are possible but rare. These comprise a high fever that could result in a seizure.
Measles lacks a specific antiviral treatment (CDC, 2019). However, medical care can be used to support and help alleviate symptoms, and tend to complications such as bacterial infections. Moreover, in severe measles cases among children, it is recommended to treat them with vitamin A.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
The VAERS is a national vaccine safety surveillance program managed by the CDC in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (CDC, 2019). If an individual experiences a health problem as a result of a vaccination any member of the general public can submit a report to VAERS.
Current School Laws in NYS on Vaccination
Currently, the New York state allows three types of exemptions on vaccination. These include medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions. I believe that such exemptions are unjustifiable and absurd. This is because the denial of vaccination to children by parents will lead to a concurrent increase in measles outbreaks. Moreover, viruses cannot segregate between a parent who denied their child a vaccine for some probably irrational reason and somebody who claims to deny immunizations are a portion of their convictions. Therefore, it would be unfair to immunodeficient individuals since they will be denied the independence to interact in public places freely. I see no justifiable reason as to why such excuses should be tolerated in the civil society that we have today.
The MMR and MMRV vaccinations are very safe and effective in protecting an individual against measles. In countries such as the U.S. where international travellers bring measles, the government needs to ensure that its citizens are protected against the disease. This should be achieved regardless of religious or personal beliefs.
CDC. (2019). Measles. Web.