Vaccinations have nearly eliminated many diseases that, in history wiped out large portions of the population. However, there are those who fear and reject immunizations for themselves or their children. When this happens, epidemics of preventable illnesses can recur as diseases are carried from other countries. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that before measles vaccines became available, hundreds of Americans died each year from this highly contagious disease. Recently, outbreaks of measles have occurred again in the United States. Read on to learn about the measles vaccine and what you can do to make sure you are protected against this disease.

10. A History of the Measles Vaccine

Measles Vaccine

According to the CDC, the first measles vaccine was developed by Dr. John Enders in 1963. Dr. Enders obtained this strain of measles virus from a young patient named David Edmonston. The measles vaccine that is used today was developed in 1968 by Maurice Hilleman. It improved upon the original vaccine and is called the Edmonston-Enders strain. Thanks to vaccinations, the incidence of measles in the U.S. had decreased by 80% by 1981. In 2000, measles was considered eliminated from the U.S.

9. How the Measles Vaccine Has Changed Over Time

Measles Vaccine Change

The CDC reports that through 1989, measles vaccines were given just once. However, an outbreak of measles occurred that year. Therefore, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), along with other medical organizations, recommended giving children a second dose of this vaccine. Currently, the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is given to children in two doses. Children receive the first dose at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. An alternative vaccine adds the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to the combination to form an MMRV vaccine.


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