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Local News

1.2% of Will County students have religious objections to vaccines

A pharmacist fills a syringe with an immunization shot against measles, mumps and rubella on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. Measles cases nationwide have topped the 700 mark.
A pharmacist fills a syringe with an immunization shot against measles, mumps and rubella on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. Measles cases nationwide have topped the 700 mark.

Will County Health officials reminded residents to ensure they are protected against the measles virus, as the number of cases nationwide reached 700.

The Will County Health Department also reported in a news release that about 1.2% of Will County children in school have religious objections to vaccinations on file, according to Regional Office of Education records.

Will County Health Department epidemiologist Alpesh Patel said the No. 1 priority for all families is to “make sure everyone is up to date with their immunizations. And if they are not up to date on their measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, they should contact their medical provider immediately.”

“Sometimes, unfortunately, with outbreaks like this, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg concerning what might happen next,” Patel said. “That’s why it’s important for everyone to take this seriously.”

The usual routine is two doses of MMR vaccine as a child – one at about 12 months old and the other at about
4 years old.  

“Teens and adults with no evidence of immunity against measles should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, separated by 28 days,” Patel said.

Additionally, if there are circumstances in which parents would like their child to have one of the MMR doses early, such as upcoming international travel or if he or she has been exposed, a medical provider can decide if it’s a safe option.

Measles is an airborne virus in the nose and throat mucus that is spread by sneezing and coughing, the release said. The virus can live in the air and on surfaces two hours after an infected person has left the room.

But the more protected a region is against the measles, the less chance there is of the highly contagious virus spreading.

Patel also championed some states’ efforts to pass more restrictive laws, in which residents could only be exempt from vaccinations for medical reasons.

Residents can make appoints at the Will County Health Department Immunizations Clinic by calling 815-740-8143 or 877-942-5807.

The appointment desk is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday; and 8 to 11:30 a.m. Friday.

For information, visit willcountyhealth.org.

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