New Recommendations for Measles Immunizations
Concerned about the growing number of measles cases in the United States, the Public Health Service recently recommended that two doses of measles vaccine be given to all children, preferably as combined MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine). Previously, only one dose was recommended routinely. (See "Mumps Makes a Comeback ... And Measles, Too" in the July-August 1989 FDA Consumer.)
While the tally is not yet complete for 1989, about 14,000 measles cases were reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control in the first 48 weeks of the year, compared with the previous post-vaccine era high of 6,282 cases for all of 1986.
The new PHS recommendations specify that in most localities, the first dose of vaccine should be given at 15 months of age and the second one at 4 to 6 years, when the child starts school. However, in counties with more than five cases among preschool-aged children during each of the preceding five years, with recent outbreaks among unvaccinated preschool-aged children, or with large inner-city populations, the first dose should be given at 12 months.
Students entering college and medical personnel with direct patient care who are beginning employment should present documentation of having received two doses of measles vaccine no less than a month apart after their first birthday, or other evidence of immunity. If resources are available, PHS suggests that institutions may want to extend this recommendation to all medical personnel. …