My measles experience

Photo courtesy of feeb

hit me with your best shot, courtesy of feeb

Today’s WaPo has an article about the large uptick in the number of measles cases in the US – the highest in 10 years, with another 4 months to go in the year. It reminded me of my experience this year with the measles vaccine, and I thought I’d share it.

I knew I’d have to jump though some hoops when I decided to take some college classes again for the first time in a long while, but I didn’t expect one of them would be at a clinic. The state requires that students provide vaccination records, however, and while tetanus was no problem – as a woodworker I am careful to keep mine up to date – the rest were an issue. For Meningococcal and Hepatitis I could sign a waiver, but there’s no dodging the documentation requirement for measles, mumps & rubella.

Let me make an observation and give you some advice here: when you’re a few years from forty, you’re not going to have a lot of luck getting your old pediatrician on the phone. So you might considering keeping some of those documents if you get your hands on them. Since nobody ever warned me, I had no such documents stored. So I wrote the check for about $60, had blood drawn, and sat back to wait a week for the results of the blood titer to show that I had existing immunities – as a result of my childhood vaccinations.

Just like clockwork, a week later my documentation was in showing that I was resistant to mumps, rubella…. and vulnerable to measles.

So I went ahead and got the two shots, and wondered why I came up negative this way when I know I was vaccinated. It seems like I was right on the tail end of the group who got just one shot of a measles-only vaccine – those of you immunized after 1971 would have gotten the same combination measles-mumps-rubella shots I just finished up, which presumably creates a more lasting immunity.

Personally I’m just releived to be free to keep taking classes and know that Amanda Peet will no longer consider me a parasite. I’m part of the herd immunity, baby – try to stay upwind.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


3 thoughts on “My measles experience

  1. I ran into a similar situation recently when I took a job in a hospital pharmacy – an easy way to get your immunization records is to call your high school county’s school board office (or elementary school, even). They might make some snarky remark about your age (“oh, records from those years have all been archived on laser disk” is what I got), but they’ll have them. Better than getting another shot :)

  2. Or two shots in my case. Whether or not that’s a bad thing I am not sure – since the titer came back negative that does mean I was theoretically vulnerable to getting the measles. Spending the money and time on the process wasn’t a lot of fun but the worst I suffered for it was a mild fever after the first shot.

  3. I had to do the same thing just last year when I started Graduate School. Vaccines sure do make life interesting and less than accomodating when you are trying to attend school.