Health department holding vaccine clinic today

Published 11:58 am Monday, March 6, 2023

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The Jessamine County Health Department (JCHD) is providing Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccines through a free-of-charge vaccine clinic today, Monday, March 6, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at its office located at 210 East Walnut St.

This clinic comes after an unvaccinated Jessamine County resident tested positive for measles. The individual attended the Asbury University revival on February 17 and 18 and could have potentially exposed 20,000 people. The case is still the only confirmed one of measles in the county, but because the incubation period of measles averages 11-12 days before an individual experiences symptoms, the county is not yet clear of additional cases.

Those interested in a vaccine who have no known immunization from measles do not have to be a Jessamine County resident but must bring an I.D. card and register for the clinic before they arrive at:

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People born before 1957 have presumed immunity to measles since they likely contracted it. The populations most likely to have severe complications with measles are immunocompromised people, infants, and school-aged children.

Melinda Barkley, the JCHD marketing director, said that measles vaccine coverage for Kentucky kindergarteners is among the lowest rates in the nation at 86.5 percent. The national measles vaccine coverage rate for kindergartners is 93.5 percent.

The first dose is typically given at 12 months, and the second between ages four and six years old.

Barkley said many children fell behind on vaccines and routine checkups over the past three years “due to missing regular checkups during the pandemic, so that’s one thing. This [vaccine] is definitely for adults that never received that MMR, but it’s also very important for parents to ensure that their children are fully protected against measles cause they’re the ones who are most at risk.”

At the measles clinic, the JCHD will also be offering COVID-19 vaccines.

Barkley said that the symptoms of COVID and measles are similar, but there are a few specific differences. Although COVID can show up in individuals without displaying symptoms, also known as being asymptomatic, that is rare for a measles infection. Some of the symptoms can also be similar.

“The cough, runny nose, but the measles symptoms also include a high fever, red eyes, and that rash three to five days later is kind of like that big marker of a difference between the two,” Barkley said.

Today’s clinic is the only one planned so far, but Barkley said that if there’s enough interest for the vaccine, the JCHD will soon plan another.