Measles vaccination rates lower in Orleans metro area than surrounding parishes

Children's Hospital pushes for measles vaccination

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - While there hasn’t been an outbreak of measles in Louisiana, higher rates of children have not been vaccinated in the New Orleans metro area versus the surrounding parishes.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, vaccination rates for kindergarten and sixth grade students 2017 and 2018 ranked lower in the Jefferson and Orleans parishes than in some surrounding parishes.

According to the CDC, the majority of people who have gotten measles in the United States were unvaccinated.

Doctors have said younger children are most at risk for measles, which is why they are encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. Dr. Denise Kerut, a local pediatrician, said getting vaccinated will help protect people who cannot get the shots.

“We would love for all children that can be vaccinated to be vaccinated," Kerut said. “Through the herd immunity, it will also protect those children who have weakened immune systems that we cannot vaccinate who are very vulnerable to catching the disease.”

Last year, Louisiana had two confirmed cases of the measles from unvaccinated travelers.

According to the state legislature website, students are required to get their shots to attend school, unless they have a medical reason from a doctor or a letter from a parent.

Measles outbreaks have been reported in New York, Washington, and now Texas, which experts have said getting a little too close to home. Still, Dr. Brobson Lutz said at the moment, Louisiana is not at risk for an outbreak.

“We are above the threshold where we would have any major concerns for measles outbreaks here. There were two cases in Louisiana last year. Both involved foreign travel, and they didn’t get very far,” Lutz said.

According to the Children’s Hospital, those younger than 5 and older than 20 are more likely to suffer from measles complications.

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