It's incredibly easy for adults to lose sight of which vaccines they do (or don't) have. Doctors administer many of the shots as babies, and tracking down a childhood pediatrician isn't exactly the simplest task in the world.
With this in mind, we created this guide to the vaccines you should have at every age.
Right now, with the Disneyland measles outbreak, there's a lot of interest in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Here are four things to know about that shot in particular:
- If you were born before 1957 — and before the measles vaccine existed — you are probably safe since you likely suffered through a bout of measles.
- For those born after 1957, you were probably vaccinated with either one or two doses of the MMR vaccine. If you got the vaccine in childhood, you're protected for life. One dose is more than 90 percent effective; two are more nearly 100 percent effective. Health officials told us one is enough to protect you from measles.
- If you're still not sure about whether you're immunized, you can also ask your doctor for a blood test that will give you an answer within a couple of days.
- According to several pediatricians and public-health officials we spoke to, there's no harm in getting a second dose if you're not sure. For this reason, they suggested just skipping the blood test and getting a dose anyway to save yourself from extra doctors' appointments.
For more detailed information about dosing, see the CDC's vaccines schedules and talk to your doctor.
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