Red Bluff, California
Dignity Health

California Measles Update

Red Bluff Measles Vaccines

California Measles Update and Reality Check on Community Immunity

The measles outbreak that started at Disneyland in December of last year and spread throughout California, was declared over in April. The declaration was based on completion of two 21-day incubation periods (42 days) since the end of the infectious period of the last known outbreak-related measles case.

While this is great news, many other preventable diseases are still circulating in our communities. Now is not the time to let down our guard and fail in the effort to have our children immunized against known potentially dangerous or life-threatening diseases. What the measles outbreak taught us is that even diseases that are rarely seen are still a threat to those who are not vaccinated.

Measles In California

Parents who decide against vaccinating their children do so for a variety of reasons. Some choose to rely instead on community immunity, described by Vaccine.gov as:

When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as "community immunity."

While community immunity may help those who are, for whatever reason, unable to get vaccinated, it should not be taken for granted by those who choose not to immunize. Basing a medical decision on everyone else being healthy has the potential to backfire, as it did in the measles epidemic. Community immunity may not be as strong a barrier between a child and disease as some believe.

In reality, many people choose to educate their children in institutions that espouse their personal philosophy about education and child rearing. In some schools, that may create a concentration of unvaccinated students, breaking down community immunity, and increasing the risk of children contracting vaccine-preventable diseases.

Varying levels of community immunity (in the school environment) can now be observed using a tool offered by the California Department of Public Health. Parents and educators can enter a zip code or address and see the vaccination rates for all reporting institutions within the area. Schools are rated from Safest (95% – 100% of students fully vaccinated) to Most Vulnerable (less than 70% of students fully vaccinated). Parents who use this tool may be surprised by what they find. For example, during the 2014 – 15 school year, at least eight K-6 schools in or around Cottonwood, Anderson and Red Bluff were considered “vulnerable” or worse.

Modern vaccines play a large part in protecting the health of our children. In order for those vaccines to be most effective, it’s important that we all immunize our children according to the schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you have questions or concerns about a vaccine, please contact your child’s healthcare provider. To make an appointment to have your child vaccinated, please visit our Patient Care Teams page to find your provider’s hours of operation and contact information.

Contact Us

Lassen Medical Clinic, Red Bluff
2450 Sister Mary Columba Drive
Red Bluff, CA 96080
Phone: 530-527-0414

Lassen Medical Clinic, Cottonwood
20833 Long Branch Drive
Cottonwood, CA 96022
Phone: 530-347-3418

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