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Is your child vaccinated against measles? Here’s why they might need a booster shot

Even if your child has been vaccinated, booster shots provide an extra layer of protection.

At least 17 cases of measles cases in Gauteng have sparked a 24-day vaccine campaign in the province.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. In fact, Melinda Suchard, the head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institutes for Communicable Diseases, describes it “one of the catchiest pathogens” we know. Worse in fact than your common flu or Ebola.

“It [measles] is one of the most infectious viruses known — one person can infect up to 17 other individuals who aren’t immune,” she says.

To curb new measles cases, the Gauteng health department has asked all parents to make sure their children are vaccinated against it.

The department has also asked that all children in Johannesburg under the age of 15 years who have already been vaccinated against measles receive free booster shots. Caregivers of already vaccinated children under five elsewhere in the province are also being prescribed an extra dose at no cost at either private or public clinics.

Do you think your child is in the clear because they’re fully vaccinated? Think again.

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Laura Lopez Gonzalez is a freelance health journalist and editor. She was Bhekisisa's news editor then deputy editor between 2016 and 2020.