Five things to think about when it comes to vaccinations | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Measles hasn’t gone away, so think twice before not vaccinating.

  • Monday, February 4, 2019 3:27pm
  • Life
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Kayla Scrivner.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Kayla Scrivner.

The following was written by Kayla Scrivner, a program manager of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Communicable Disease department:

One of our registered nurses had an interesting conversation about vaccinations this week.

She was in Clark County to help public officials there investigate the measles outbreak and talked to a mom whose kids weren’t vaccinated.

The mom said she was worried about her kids’ safety. She knew the decision not to get them vaccinated carried some risk, but, at the time, she thought it was the safest option. The danger didn’t hit home for her until dozens of her neighbors got sick with measles.

Our nurse was struck by the irony. The mom loves her kids and had been trying to keep them healthy. Now she was afraid they might get sick because of the choice she made when they were babies!

Some people fall into a category we call “vaccine hesitant,” which means they haven’t completely made up their minds about vaccines. Perhaps they chose not to immunize their families, but now they might wonder if they made the right decision.

If you’re on the fence about vaccination, here are five things to consider:

YOU CAN PROTECT BABIES

Newborns can’t get their first dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine until after their first birthday. That means if you or your child gets the measles and are around a baby while contagious, that baby could get extremely sick. Complications are more common in babies and young children, and can include things like diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and permanent brain damage. Babies and others can get sick even if they enter a room hours after a contagious person leaves it. People can spread the disease for several days before any symptoms show up.

YOU CAN PROTECT PEOPLE WHO CAN’T GET VACCINES

Some people can’t get vaccinated because they have compromised immune systems. This can be because of allergies, conditions that make them bruise easily, or weak immune systems. People with weak immune systems often have very severe cases of measles when they do contract it. Even in healthy people, measles can lead to hospitalization and even death.

VACCINES ARE BY FAR THE SAFEST CHOICE

About 90 percent of people who aren’t vaccinated for measles will get it if they are exposed. The vast majority of people who get the MMR vaccine don’t have any problems with it.

MEASLES IS EXTREMELY CONTAGIOUS

The measles virus survives in the air and on surfaces for hours after the infected person leaves. You can have measles for several days before you have any symptoms. It’s easy to pass the virus on during that time. There’s no specific treatment once you’re sick.

DISEASES LIKE MEASLES HAVEN’T GONE AWAY

You don’t hear much about people getting sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. But it can and does happen like it did with the outbreak in Southwest Washington. As of Thursday afternoon, Clark County had 41 confirmed measles cases and another 15 suspected cases.

If you’re on the fence, please consider getting your family vaccinated. Immunization is the easiest, safest way to protect yourself, your family and your community against measles. Vaccines are free for kids, and adults without insurance can get them at a low cost.

If you’d like us to email you every time we publish a new blog post, sign up here for eNotifications.

More in Life

What’s in that vape? Cannabis and vaping | Public Health Insider

Always know what you’re putting into your body.

Live music options abound this summer

There are still many concerts you can catch in Buckley and Enumclaw.

Sundays On Cole opens season with more vendors

There is also more entertainment and beer options.

Preparing for wildfire smoke season | Public Health Insider

It’s a good time to plan ahead for when air conditions are poor.

Black Diamond’s first summer Hometown Social of the year | Oakpointe

This Friday, “Sandlot” will be playing in the housing development project.

Summer meals available to kids in Enumclaw, Buckley

These programs help feed youths that may have only been able to get their only meal of the day at school.

Enumclaw High’s ‘over 50’ reunion set for Aug. 8

Anyone who attended or graduated from EHS from 1969 or before is welcome to attend.

Helping Plateau, Washington Princesses go to the ball

The Orting-based Princess Project of Washington helps women of all ages dress up for any sort of event, free of charge.

Guild gathered for annual spring luncheon

The next Guild event, its annual Christmas Luncheon and Auction, is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Image courtesy Public Health Insider.
The weather is heating up — time for a water safety refresher

Whatever you do, always wear a life vest.

Antiques show coming to Expo Center

The event will be held June 29 starting at 9, though early birds can pay extra to get in before the crowds.

Washington wants to know more about the LBGTQ community | Public Health Insider

A new anonymous study, open through mid-September, wants to better understand the lives of LGBTQ residents.