Avera Medical Minute: Measles immunity for the most vulnerable in our community

measles (KSFY)
Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 5:16 PM CST
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Five-year-old Sunny Nour is spending time at home with her Mom Jody today.

The Nour family is like so many busy families, but they do make it a priority to stay up to date on their vaccinations.

"So she just turned five last month so we got her kindergarten shots," said Nour. Sunny handled it like a trooper. "Two pokes, one in each leg, and she was super brave," said Nour.

Mom and Dad rely on the relationship they have with their family doctor to help keep track of the family's vaccination schedule and any concerns about the safety and schedule of vaccines.

"Just asking a lot of questions of Dr. List and his staff, who do a great job of answering our questions," said Nour.

Avera family physician Dr. Mark List recommends a vaccine to provide protection against measles for kids like Sunny heading to school.

He says concerns of an autism connection nearly 20 years ago has been debunked time and again.

"Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It's virally spread. It's one of the most contagious infectious organisms we see or know about," said Dr. List.

Sioux Falls is about the same population as Samoa where a measles epidemic is spreading throughout the country.

"In the States, if we had a similar outbreak, we'd have thousands of people who are unvaccinated who could get exposed if our vaccination rate drop so much," said Dr. List.

With vaccination rates at or above the 90 percentile, our region is establishing herd immunity.

Another angle to consider when choosing vaccinations is how it could affect someone else if you get sick.

"There's a large pool of very susceptible newborns who could be at the highest risk for hospitalization, complications and even death," said Dr. List.

Dr. List says he welcomes conversations about vaccination questions.

"I think it's important to discuss those concerns, those fears, those worries. Vaccines are safe for the general public. There are some risks but they're very small and they're very uncommon and I think it's important to have those discussions with your doctor what those potential complications could be because they are very small compared to the rates of what we're seeing here in getting complications from getting measles," said Dr. List.

These are the discussions the Nours are grateful to have. "Find a pediatrician or a family practice doctor that you're comfortable with and confident in, and have those conversations with them," said Nour.

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