Recently, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of patients that come down with mumps. In past years, the illness spread at incredible rates across the country and last year alone saw no less than 5,000 cases nationwide. In light of these events, the country’s health sector experts are stepping up to solve this issue with the MMR vaccine for mumps, measles, and rubella. However, physicians still haven’t reached a consensus whether a third dose of the vaccine is beneficial for the population.
Discussions started last week in regard to increasing the dosage for a better immunization. Now, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) officials have revealed that the situation is dire, as the surge in the number of patients has actually been recorded in areas with high vaccination rates. Hence, it could be possible that the usual two-shot MMR vaccine might have lost its efficiency, health experts say.
Up until now, the MMR vaccine was administered in two phases. The first one involved vaccinating children with ages between 12 and 15 months old, while the second dose was administered once the individuals turned 4. 6-year-olds were eligible for the second MMR shot, as well, say officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Administering the vaccine in two stages came as scientists concluded this was the best way to go about preventing mumps and measles outbreaks, as individuals who received two doses of the MMR vaccine were 97 percent less likely to contract measles and 88 percent protected against the mumps virus.
However, with the surge in the mumps outbreaks across the nation, physicians now believe increasing the dosage to three shots per individual will provide better immunization. On the other hand, Minnesota’s Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, Patsy Stinchfield highlighted there is no vaccine able to work against the mumps virus on its own. Hence, taking the dosage up to three shots would indeed increase the MMR vaccine’s efficiency against mumps, but increasing the dosage for rubella and measles at the same time could lead to adverse effects. At the moment, discussions are underway and the health experts are expected to reach a decision soon.
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