May 2019 -- Nisan-Iyar 5779,  Volume 25, Issue 5

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County Health Commissioner Urges Vaccination for Camp Counselors, Staff and Unvaccinated Residents

With the largest measles outbreak in the U.S. underway since 2000, Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, urged unvaccinated children who will be attending summer camp, along with camp counselors, staff and Westchester residents to register for a free MMR vaccine clinic, offered by the Westchester County Department of Health.

 

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and is both very safe and effective.

 

To reserve a spot to get a free MMR vaccine Tuesday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 134 Court Street, White Plains, go to http://www.health.ny.gov/gotoclinic/60.

In addition to attending the Health Department’s vaccination clinic, the MMR vaccine is available through private healthcare providers and is covered by most insurers. Residents should call their health care provider as soon as possible to make arrangements to be vaccinated.

 

Amler said, “While I strongly encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated, I especially want to appeal to anyone working or attending a camp this summer to do so. Lack of immunity can keep kids home from camp and camp staff home from work for 21 days if exposed to measles. Measles is highly contagious. People can spread measles before they even know they are sick. People without immunity can catch measles just by being in a room for up to two hours after a person with measles has left. Without immunity, nine out of 10 people who are exposed will become infected. If exposed and not immune, campers will miss out on summer fun while being isolated at home for three weeks.”

 

Measles is a highly contagious virus that causes fever, rash, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Measles spreads from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Tiny white spots may appear in the mouth and a rash may appear on the body two to four days after symptoms begin. Without knowing they are sick, an infected person can spread measles to others up to four days before the rash appears, and for up to four days afterwards.

 

The Health Department vaccinated 92 people at three MMR clinics held earlier in April. The County Health Department arranged these clinics, after publicly urging timely MMR vaccination, after eight unvaccinated children in northern Westchester were diagnosed with measles. The children do not attend public schools or daycare programs.

 

For more information, call the NYS Measles Hotline at 1-888-364-4837.