City urges public to vaccinate children after 25-year high measles spike

EL PASO, Texas - City officials urged the public to vaccinate children during National Infant Immunization Week. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported measles cases have reached a 25-year high with 704 confirmed cases, 15 of which are in Texas. 

"We are generally in a safe position in El Paso in regards to our herd immunity against measles, but we can do better," said Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the city and county health authority. 

"Infants are especially vulnerable to measles since they do not get their first vaccination until they're a year old. For that reason, it is very important to vaccinate babies on time, to protect them from serious diseases."

Ysleta Health Clinic Charge Nurse Rosemary Payan said families flocked to get their children vaccinated Wednesday when immunizations were offered for free. 

Payan said some kids cry, "2-year-olds, 3-year-olds," while others act like nothing happened. 

Even though the needle poke is painful for some children, it's necessary. Health officials said three-quarters of measles cases are in children or teens, and left untreated the infection could leads to hundreds more. 

"As infants you don't have that same immune system that we do as adults," Payan said.  

"We do give the MMR vaccine, " said Payan "It protects against measles, mumps and rubella."

Children should get their first shot when they're 2 or under, a booster two years later and another when they're around 11, Payan said. 

A 6-month-old, baby Sergio, also received drops to protect against rotavirus. 

He took a moment to swish the liquid around his mouth before deciding he didn't like the taste. 

Little Sergio's smiles at the ABC-7 camera quickly turned to tears after two shots on both of his thighs.

It was hard for his mom to see, but Payan said it helps in the long run. 

"The good thing is a lot of parents are bringing these diseases and prevent other kids from getting sick as well," said Payan. 

Medical professionals advised getting your children vaccinated before the new school year.

One vaccination costs $10, two or more is a flat $15. 

The City of El Paso Public Health Department offers vaccines at two locations from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., however the last patients are taken at 5 p.m. 

Ysleta Clinic, 110 Candelaria,  and Henderson Clinic, 721 S. Mesa.

Call 915-212-6555 for more information. 

Nearly 90 percent of measles cases are reported in people who are not immunized despite public pleas for Americans to get vaccinated.

ABC-7 did reach out to parents against vaccinations, but has not heard back. 


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