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Do you know your measles vaccine status? Arizona health official says double check those records

If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom or other parts of Western Europe this summer, you might want to talk to your doctor about a measles booster. 

"In terms of infectiousness, it blows COVID out of the water," said Dr. Kiran Raman, division medical director for public health preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services.  

Now, hundreds of measles cases are circulating throughout Europe. So how do you know if you’re immune? 

"So if your birth year is before 1957, you're basically considered to have been already naturally exposed to measles," said Raman.

But if you were born between 1963 and 1967, she says, "You may have received what they call, basically a killed vaccine. So a vaccine that wasn't as effective as a live vaccine that we use now. And because of that, your immunity might not be there."

She says people vaccinated in the 1970s and '80s with the two-dose series have immunity.  

If you're unsure of your measles vaccine status, Raman says you should check.

"My suggestion would be to definitely talk to your health care provider to make sure that you have a lab test to see if you are immune to confirm that and if you're not to go ahead and get that two dose series," which are given 28 days apart, she said.

If you don’t have your vaccine records, Raman says many departments of health have them on file. You can also contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.