What you need to know about the measles vaccine for yourself and your children

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – You've probably been hearing a lot about the measles outbreak and wondering if you need to get vaccinated even a second time.

It's getting so bad there could be a change to vaccine laws for kids going to school.

Doctors say it’s the largest outbreak in two decades. But physicians say because of loopholes in the law, they're seeing more patients opting out of getting their kids vaccinated -- kids like 4-year-old Devonta Woods, who is getting ready for pre-K with a physical and all his shots.

“Because of the outbreak, it makes other people scared,” Devonta’s grandmother, Amorine Hannah, said. “They’re calling in early to get an early appointment and to get it done.”

It only takes a few seconds to make sure a child is safe from the measles.

“Go ahead and just get the shot,” Hannah said. “It’s done and done and over with. It’s going to save your life.”

But Dr. Chitra Mani, a pediatric doctor for infectious diseases, says she's seeing more parents not wanting to get their kids immunized.

“That's a little concerning for us because that something new in this area,” Mani said. "The reason that this outbreak is happening is because many states have not enforced the strict rule about vaccination and children."

By Georgia law, school vaccinations are required unless a parent provides a religious or temporary medical exemption form. Hannah says the loopholes are the problem.

In other states like Mississippi, West Virginia, and California, public health trumps parental choice -- only medical exceptions are allowed.

"Because this is a highly contagious disease we have to have at least 95 percent or more rate of vaccination in that population to protect, so that's why it's so important that all children get vaccinated,” Mani said.

Kids are not the only ones who need to get vaccinated for measles. If you were born in the late 80's to early 90s, you probably did not get the two doses recommended.

That's a lot of shots, but are clinics stocked up for that? They keep a close eye on their vaccination numbers and even have a computer system that will automatically order more doses when the supply gets low, so there is no danger of running out.

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