Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Free Measles Shots Offered as County Has 2 More Cases

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Free Measles Shots Offered as County Has 2 More Cases

Article excerpt

Citing "increased interest and concern," the Allegheny County Health Department announced Wednesday it is offering free measles vaccinations at its Downtown clinic.

The measles-mumps-rubella shots will be targeted to "higher risk" people at its permanent clinic at 425 First Ave. during its regular business hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

The department also announced two more measles cases are now confirmed in the county, bringing to seven the total number of cases identified in the past two weeks.

Dr. Kristen Mertz, a county epidemiologist, said in an email that the county has "seen an uptick in phone calls since the announcement of the first case. Residents ask about vaccination recommendations and have had general questions about symptoms and concerns regarding potential exposure locations and periods."

The department held a free, pop-up vaccination clinic on May 7 in Homewood. But it was held with less than one day's notice and only 44 people showed up to get the MMR vaccine, and nearly all of them were adults getting "booster" shots to ensure they were fully vaccinated, with few of the attendees children or adults who had never been vaccinated

The county said before the Homewood clinic that it had about 380 doses of the MMR vaccine on hand, and it said Wednesday that it now has a "limited supply" of the vaccine and it will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The health department advises anyone who wants to get the free vaccine to call 412-578-8060 before coming to the clinic to check on the availability of the vaccine.

The department notes that one dose of the MMR vaccine has been shown to be 93% effective, and two doses 97% effective.

The two new unvaccinated adults who contracted the infectious disease are from the same family that previously was responsible for four of the other cases, part of a record number of measles cases being reported in the United States since the disease was essentially eliminated in 2000. …

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