We’re now seeing the results of two decades of medical ignorance - the anti-vaccine movement. The result is that the US is experiencing its largest measles outbreaks in decades, in predictable places where anti-vax people live:
If you have already had the measles vaccine, are you protected? I had a conversation with Dr Rob Siegel (yes relation) who gave me an update:
First, the measles vaccine hasn’t changed since the mid-1960s and is doing its job very well. People vaccinated in the past 40 years are almost certainly well protected. What about older people? We know from random testing that around 25 percent of people aged 65 are no longer protected. The rest still have some signs of the vaccine in their system. Here are the three scenarios:
If you are over 60 and think you may not be protected, you can get tested for vaccine effectiveness.
However, for even less trouble and expense, you could just get a new vaccine booster. It’s completely safe and effective.
Wait and see. We’re now conducting a national experiment to see how protected old people are. We know that in Hassidic Jewish communities, children and old people live together, so we may start to get data on this in the coming year or two.
Worldwide, measles cases are up significantly:
In 2017, Brazil had no measles cases. In 2018, they had 10,262. This is largely the result of a belief system that is suspicious of external authorities.
Anti-vax people have many arguments against vaccination, none of which hold up to scrutiny, but they continue to believe and spread the message that vaccines are harmful. Will they double down and try to preserve their identity, or will they realize their mistake and change their minds? What do you think?
For a full update on the situation, read Dr. Gorsky’s update on ScienceBasedMedicine.