UPDATE – As of Feb 28, 2019, there are 15 cases of measles in Vancouver.
WHAT IS MEASLES?
Measles is a very contagious viral infection. Measles can spread through the air when when an infected individual breathes, coughs or sneezes. or through their saliva. Measles can lead to infections of the ear or lungs (pneumonia). About 1 in 1000 infected individuals may develop serious complications such as encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain that can then lead to seizures, deafness or permanent brain damage.
The best protection against measles is by vaccination with the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.
AM I PROTECTED AGAINST MEASLES?
If you were born before 1970, you are generally assumed to have acquired immunity to measles from natural infection, and therefore MMR vaccine is not recommended. However, the BC Centre For Disease Control (BCCDC) recommends that health care workers born between 1957 and 1969 have two doses of the MMR vaccine
If you were born after 1970 (1957 for healthcare workers), 2 doses of the MMR vaccine is recommended for protection. Typically, children born after 1970 in Canada received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.
- First dose: 12 months old (85-95% protection)
- Second dose: 4 to 6 years old (nearly 100% protection)
I’M NOT SURE IF I’VE BEEN VACCINATED?
If you are unable to find a record of immunization, you would be considered unimmunized and unprotected and should be vaccinated to ensure protection. It is safe to repeat vaccines.
For measles, you can also have your blood tested for antibodies to determine your immunity. This would include a simple lab test. Talk to your family doctor to find out more.
WHERE CAN I FIND MY IMMUNIZATION RECORDS?
There are several places to look to find your immunization records.
- Check your home for your paper immunization records. Try looking through baby books or other saved documents from your childhood.
- Check with your parents or other caregivers to see if they have a record of your immunizations.
- Check with your current and previous family doctors. However, immunization records may be kept at doctors’ offices for a limited time.
- Check with your local/public health unit if you were immunized at your local/public health unit or in school.
WHERE CAN I RECEIVE THE MMR VACCINE?
The MMR vaccine is publicly funded (free of cost) for adults who have not been vaccinated. You can get the vaccine from a pharmacy, a walk-in clinic, doctors’ offices, or your local public health unit. The vaccine is still available at BioBro Biologics Pharmacy
Other helpful resources: