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Are Black Kids More Likely To Get Measles?

By: Krystle Crossman

New laws and regulations are coming about in many states because of the recent measles outbreak that started in Walt Disneyland in California. It spread all the way to the Midwest and has affected over 120 people so far in 14 different states. Lawmakers are taking a closer look at immunization laws and making sure that these kinds of outbreaks do not happen again. Most states require that a child be immunized before going to a public school. Unfortunately there are many youth that slip through the cracks because they cannot afford the shots and do not have insurance. A majority of these youth are African-American children.

The parents of those who caught the measles are being criticized because they did not vaccinate their children. Because of this outbreak there are now at least two schools in California that are banning any child who has not been immunized. There are many different reasons that parents do not get the vaccines for their children, mostly for personal reasons. There are some rare instances where the child’s life could be put in danger if they get the shots due to a suppressed immune system. Then there is the group of people that cannot afford to have these immunizations for their children. If you do not have insurance than you must pay for these out of pocket. Many families do not have the money to do so and their children go without.

The measles vaccine is comprised of two shots. One should be administered between 12 and 15 months of age. The second MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot should be given when the child is between 4 and 6 years of age. The second shot is not on a specific timeline so if it is missed in that age range it is not a big deal as long as they still get it at some point in order for it to be effective. They have to wait at least 28 days from the time of the first shot. Both of these require a trip to the doctor’s office which is a lot of money for those who do not have insurance. Unfortunately black children suffer the most because there are more African-American families without insurance and without the significant funds they want upfront for these vaccinations. This leads to a much higher risk of black children contracting this disease.

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