'In the midst of rising hysteria over measles outbreaks in the U.S., media outlets have featured a story about a 43-year-old flight attendant who's been in a coma for days due to encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which is a rare complication of both measles and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
While spinning the story as a reason to be very afraid of measles, and typically spreading the rhetoric that the best way to stay "safe" is to get vaccinated, it's only mentioned in passing that the flight attendant had been vaccinated.1
"With fewer people getting vaccinated, measles is on the rise," Health noted,2 but clearly vaccinated people are also getting measles, so what's really going on?
Are Unvaccinated People Responsible for Spreading Measles?
As of April 26, 2019, 704 cases of measles were reported in the U.S. in 2019, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994.3
The media, as well as public health organizations, typically blame pockets of unvaccinated individuals for measles outbreaks in the U.S., but the percentage of people vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is actually very high.
In the 2013-2014 school year, almost 95 percent of U.S. children entering kindergarten had received two doses of MMR vaccine,4 as had 92 percent of school children ages 13 to 17 years.5 That high rate of vaccination for MMR among U.S. school children continues today.6
This high MMR vaccination rate should theoretically ensure "herd immunity," but outbreaks of both measles and mumps keep occurring, which hints at vaccine failure. One proposed solution is to introduce a third MMR vaccination as a "booster" dose at age 18. However, the fact remains that measles outbreaks continue to occur even in highly vaccinated populations.'
Read more: Vaccinated Flight Attendant in Coma
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