Over 1,000 cases of both measles and mumps have been reported nationwide since January. The outbreaks are alarming, considering measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mumps cases had decreased more than 99 percent by 1989.
Immunizations are one of the successes of modern medicine. Before the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) was developed, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles and hundreds died from it each year. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer opportunities for a disease to spread.
Scotts Bluff County Health Director Paulette Schnell tells KNEB News that giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, including whooping cough and measles.
Schnell says it is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they encounter potentially life-threatening diseases.
Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still be common in many parts of the world and unvaccinated individuals can bring them to the U.S., putting unvaccinated people at risk.
Vaccines not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but Schnell says they also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
Children with no health coverage can receive immunizations through the Vaccines for Children program at no cost. At Regional West Community Health, no child will be turned away due to inability to pay.
Regional West Community Health offers vaccinations for all ages from birth to seniors. The Immunization Clinic is held on the first, second, and third Tuesdays of the month from 3 to 6 p.m.
To schedule an immunization appointment, or for more information about vaccinations or the Immunization Clinic, call Regional West Community Health at 308-630-1580.
The adult walk-in clinic is offered weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. No appointment is needed.