Watch CBS News

Measles Outbreak: Do You Need A Measles Booster Shot? An Expert Explains How To Tell

At A Glance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Our measles outbreak has many adults asking if the vaccine they got as a child is enough.

Do you need a booster?

CBSN New York's Marc Liverman takes a closer look at the confusion and the risks.

Deb Ivanhoe received her first ever measles vaccine Friday morning.

The 60-year-old New Yorker couldn't remember if she had ever been vaccinated as a child, so she had her blood tested and discovered she had no immunity against the measles.

Most people born before 1957 have exposed to measles and have immunity. But Ivanhoe was born a year later, when there was no vaccine - that came along in 1963.

Even those first vaccine recipients may not be in the clear, according to CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus.

"The first five years of the vaccine, some batches of them were not very good. None of us know which batch we got," Dr. Agus said.

Health professionals say you can get your blood tested, like Ivanhoe, or just get the measles booster. That's the less expensive option.

There's another age group that might want to consider a measles booster.

"From 1968 to 1989, we only gave one shot. Then we started giving two shots, so still immunity may be a little low," Dr. Agus explained.

So far this year, the CDC has confirmed 704 cases. That's the largest number since measles was declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000. Most cases have been in unvaccinated children. Kids under 5 and adults over 20 are more likely to suffer complications.

"They can get the brain infection, it can actually lead to death so it's something that we really need to pay attention to," Dr. Agus said.

In two weeks, Ivanhoe's vaccine will be fully effective and she'll be protected from the measles.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.