Parents of young babies are feeling a little anxious after a recent measles outbreak.
According to the New York Times, children don't normally receive their measles vaccinations until after their first birthday, meaning young babies are vulnerable as measles cases are rising. This leaves parents in a strange position because going out with their child could be a dangerous proposition.
One such parent is Katherine Jones, a 37-year-old in San Fransisco who gave birth eight weeks ago. She gets a little frustrated when parents say vaccinating their child is their choice.
"The folks who are choosing not to vaccinate their children or be vaccinated themselves are putting my child in danger,” she told the New York Times.
Many pediatricians, specifically Dr. Annabelle De St. Maurice, say giving a baby younger than a year old a measles vaccine is not effective. This is because many antibodies are left over from their mothers after birth that could curb the effects of the vaccine. Not only that but if the mother was fully immunized, the baby may have some protection from the disease at birth. This is why vaccines are normally given out after the first birthday, where higher immunization rates are found. With that in mind, this doesn't apply to every child.
Because of this, many parents have to think twice before heading out with their baby. “There are just some places that we don’t go,” Lucretia Sims tells the publication regarding her seven-month-old.
That's actually what many doctors are suggesting when it comes to going out with their babies. The virus is so contagious that an unvaccinated person can contract the disease by entering a room two hours after someone with the disease left. Doctors also recommend asking other parents if their children are vaccinated, something some parents are a little worried to bring up considering how sensitive the topic can be.
While parents are starting to feel the pinch of the recent measles outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has pinpointed "Vaccine Hesitancy" as one of the biggest threats to global health alongside threats like air pollution and poor primary healthcare. According to their numbers, vaccines can prevent about two to three million deaths a year, and if more access to health care is available worldwide, they could prevent another 1.5 million.