'Immunity can wear off over time': Doctors highlight undervaccination in adults
2019-04-12 from cbc.ca
Vaccinations are commonly considered a childhood health issue, but if adults think they're protected, doctors say that's not always the case. Some adults may need a vaccination booster for highly contagious infectious diseases like measles.
Amid travel-related measles cases in British Columbia's Lower Mainland, New York City, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Washington state, as well as outbreaks in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, some doctors are raising awareness about adults who may be inadvertently undervaccinated.
Many people are unaware that their immunity can wear off over time. People born in Canada between 1970 and 1996 may need an extra dose of the vaccine to protect themselves — particularly if they are planning to travel abroad.
This week's news of an Ottawa cancer patient who contracted measles despite being vaccinated drew attention to the issue. In Jayda Kelsall's case, she'd been vaccinated against measles, but local public health officials told her some people with weakened immune systems can still be vulnerable to the virus.
Most other pathogens spread by droplets, meaning for instance you have to touch a contaminated surface and then your face. But measles is highly contagious: it can be spread to an unprotected person just by breathing in the same air as someone with the illness, said Dr. Jeff Kwong, a family physician at Toronto Western's family health team and a scientist at ICES, formerly the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
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