Contagious diseases that have been in the news lately – measles and chickenpox — will be the focus of two health fair clinics next week for people who want to make sure they’re protected.
The public will be able to get Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations and chickenpox vaccinations for $40 a dose at the University of Louisville Vaccine and International Travel Clinic at 501 W. Broadway, Suite 110. The clinics are April 19 from 5-8 p.m. and April 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The clinics, which are a joint project of the University of Louisville Division of Infectious Diseases and the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, take place amid concern about several measles outbreaks in various parts of the country and the fact that such contagious diseases can spread easily among unvaccinated individuals.
A public health emergency was declared this week in New York City, which has been fighting a measles outbreak in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. Also, from Jan. 1 to April 4, at least 465 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.
“Measles is one of our most contagious diseases and MMR is one of our most effective vaccines,” said Dr. Lori Caloia, the Louisville Public Health and Wellness medical director, in a news release. “It’s totally unnecessary that children and adults should be unprotected against this deadly disease. We urge everyone to be immunized.”
Louisville hasn’t had any measles cases this year as of early April, according to the release. But Kentucky has had two recent cases, both involving vaccinated children who’d traveled to countries where measles is endemic, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
UofL’s Division of Infectious Diseases noted that many visitors from inside and outside the United States will be traveling to Louisville for Derby, so that’s another reason to get vaccinated.
Children and adolescents younger than 18 should have been vaccinated by their pediatrician or primary care provider, according to the release. If not, they can come to one of the clinics for evaluation.
The clinics are also open to certain adults, including those unclear about their vaccination status and those preparing for international travel.
Because the vaccinations will be done at a low-cost rate, insurance won’t be accepted. But cash, credit cards and health spending accounts can be used.