Can you take a blood test to check if you're vaccinated for the measles? Should you re-vaccinate if you're unsure?
Yes, you can take a blood 'titer' test that checks for antibodies in your blood. The antibodies indicate if you are immune to a disease through vaccination or exposure.
Yes, you should re-vaccinate if you're a healthy individual. There's no real health danger, just some possible brief discomfort or soreness.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know
Dr. Anthony Fauci: Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Lab Corp: Measles and Mumps Tests
Virginia Department of Health Division of Immunization
Maryland Department of Health Center for Immunization
With the fourth confirmed case of measles in Maryland, and Americans across the country witnessing the disease blossom and spread in their neighborhoods, everyone's checking their vaccination records.
But not everyone can access those records.
"I was born in Poland and came here when I was 10 years old," Abe Ashenberg wrote to the Verify team. "I do not remember having measles. Is there a blood test to see if I need a vaccine?"
Verify was all over it.
Our researchers consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lab Corp and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
You can take a blood test, or 'titer test,' to measure the level of antibodies in your system. Depending on the number of antibodies, a doctor can identify whether you have immunity to a certain disease, either from vaccination or exposure.
If you don't want to go through the hassle of having blood drawn, not to mention the expense, experts say if you're not sure you can get get re-immunized.
"Sometimes people don't know if they got vaccinated at all and sometimes they think they got one shot instead of the required two, but if there's a doubt, we recommend seeing your physician, and getting vaccinated," Anothy Fauci, Director of NIAID, said.
Another twist, some people don't even need to get vaccinated in the first place.
On the CDC's website it reads: "Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with measles, mumps, and rubella viruses during childhood. The majority of people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps, and rubella."
Fauci explained further: "They are assuming if you were born before 1957, that you had measles and prior infection with measles clearly confers lifelong immunity against reinfection. So individuals who were born before then are essentially protected, because they almost certainly got infected."
In 1957, measles shots weren't available in the United States. That didn't happen until around 1963. One of the first shots introduced, which many people got in the 60s, isn't the most effective, and therefore health professionals encourage you to get re-inoculated.
Combined the two components of the vaccine, the prime and boost, offers 97 percent protection from the disease. If you only got the prime, you are 93 percent protected.
So we can Verify, yes, there is a blood test you can take to make sure you're vaccinated against the measles.
In Maryland you can actually request your vaccination records from the State Health Department.
Virginia and D.C. residents can contact their doctor, school or day care who can access state records.