I was a senior in college when I learned that, while incredibly unlikely, the vaccines we received when we were children can wear off. Why did I learn that weird fact, you may ask? Well, because we had a mumps outbreak at Boston College, and one of my friends learned the hard way that she was no longer immune. Had she known she lost her immunity and then been revaccinated, she would have been fine instead of contracting the mumps from other students who were unvaccinated to begin with. I’ll let you figure out why BC got into that position in the first place.
Fortunately for me, when I checked my measles, mumps, and rubella immunity profile back then I was fine.
So, here we are several years later in 2019, and the measles are back in New York because we have selfish anti-vaxxers running the streets like maniacs (they’re actually not running the streets like maniacs, because…well…they’re sick with the Measles, or they’re at the movies seeing The Avengers, on a cruise, or at UCLA).
Meanwhile, we have reasonable people like us, with underlying health conditions, who are just trying to go about our business without contracting illnesses that should be extinct. While I am confident that my immunity profile is still perfectly fine, I have a couple of work trips coming up, so I want to be totally sure, and there’s only one way to know for sure… Check!
Checking is as simple as drawing an extra tube during a blood test at a CF clinic visit. So, in real #CFAwarenessMonth AND World #ImmunizationWeek style (yup, you’ve got that right, I’m double dipping on the awareness train right now!) I asked my doctor to draw an MMR titer for me.
I’ll have the results in a few days, and my immunity profile will be totally fine, or I’ll be next in line to re-up my MMR vaccine!
I know a number of my friends with CF have already gotten their MMR immunity profiles checked, so if you’re reading this and you suddenly aren’t sure, just bring it up with your doctor! What’s the worst thing that could happen if you ask? You both share an awkward laugh? It’s of course, unlikely, that MMR immunity profile wears off, but in my case, I wanted to check!
In all seriousness, vaccines are victims of their own success. When things in the public health world are working correctly, no one seems to pay attention. No one these days remembers the iron lung, unnecessary blindness, children dying before they were 5 or anything like that. Why? Because vaccines are amazing. They’re saving lives, but right now we have people running their mouths about some pseudoscience BS, and they’re jeopardizing those of us with underlying health conditions AND people who have suppressed immune systems.
I’ll let this chart do the talking for me….
Here’s the CDC for ya…