Portlandia, chill out on measles

So I guess most of you don’t remember Swine Flu, or H1N1, or Zika? Want to benefit from all this measles madness? Buy Merck stock (they have a monopoly on the MMR vaccine), they’re the ones controlling the media hype machine right now.

For those of you not hiding inside your house right now I have some news for you: I could offer you $10,000 if you could catch measles and I’d win that bet . Oregon has 4 cases of measles in a state of more than 4 million, I know you can calculate those odds, right? Not to mention by now the people in that group of 4 have probably recovered or at least aren’t contagious.

Before you call me an “anti-vaxxer” know that I not only vaccinated my own kids (more details soon), but I also spent several years in Eastern Africa and have spent my career in public health. Public health is not just vaccines. If you give a vaccine to a kid living on a mud floor, bathing in a river where people defecate, with no running water or sewage, guess what? The vaccine wont save him, he’s going to be sick. He’s the kid who dies of measles, and it’s terrible to see.

I’ve typed these facts out to so many friends this week I figured this would be an easier way to share them.

  • Don’t give your six month old the MMR. That’s dangerous. I waited for MMR until my kids were 3.
  • Measles is not a deadly disease for a healthy kid in Oregon. Read an accurate account of life in America before the vaccine. Call your doctor, take extra Vitamin A, your child will be fine (if they’re the 1 in a million who catch it.)
  • Oregon has no measles problem, read how the oregon health authority describes it. We’ve had 23 cases of measles since 2004.
  • Measles is not making a comeback. It’s not endemic to the U.S. That means the only way we get measles is when its imported from other countries.
  • Oregon’s vaccination rates for measles are very high.
  • Oregon’s measles vaccination rate for measles has been high for two decades. There’s been no recent decline.

Finally, my own deal. I vaccinated my kids for polio, Hib, MMR, and DTaP. I didn't vaccinate my kid for varicella, hep b , or hep a. I don’t think all vaccines are created equal, and neither should you. Many friends in public health vaccinate selectively. We also wash our hands. Stay strong Portland, and stop freaking out.