Ocean County residents turned out in big numbers for a free vaccine clinic in response to a growing measles outbreak, after another suspected case was reported to health officials.
More than 2,500 measles vaccines were administered this week in Ocean County, as an eighth suspected case that was reported Thursday is monitored, officials confirmed.
Free vaccines were given out by CHEMED Health Center and Ocean Health Initiative Monday through Thursday, said Daniel Regenye, health officer for Ocean County Health Department.
“We’re encouraging people to get the vaccines,” he said. “It will go a long way to protect from a very highly contagious disease.”
While most people born after 1957 receive two doses of the measles vaccine by the age of 4, there are others who aren’t vaccinated, due to religious or medical reasons, or because they have immigrated from a nation where the vaccine is not common.
Health officials are also encouraging children to go on an accelerated MMR vaccine schedule.
— EssexMetro Immunizes (@EssexMetroIC) November 9, 2018
Rather than receiving the first dose of the vaccine at 1 year old and the second dose between 4 and 6 years old, Regenye urged parents to take their child to be vaccinated at six months, and receive the second dose 28 days later.
“They’re really the most vulnerable, young children. That will go a long way to help protect the child, and if the child does get exposed to measles, they may just get a mild form of it,” he said.
The Ocean County Health Department is still awaiting test results from eight suspected cases from the Center for Disease Control.
The eighth suspected case was reported Thursday, Regenye noted.
“We’re hoping to get those results soon, so we can put proper health measures in place to contain the outbreak at this time,” he added.
The first Lakewood case involved a person who had traveled to Israel and contracted the disease. It was reported to the Ocean County Health Department Oct. 26.
CHEMED Health Center has set up an outdoor triage tent to treat those who suspect they have measles.
Those who exhibit symptoms for measles, which include fever, coughing, pink eye and a rash which typically starts on the face and neck and spreads elsewhere, are urged to call medical providers before arriving for care.
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