Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders informs residents that children who are at least 12 months old and under age 19 and who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured or underinsured are eligible to receive free vaccines to prevent measles. This free service is available at the County’s Immunization Clinic operated by the Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services.
“Recently, over a dozen new cases of measles have been reported in our area,” stated Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “The Freeholder Board takes this outbreak very seriously and we want to make residents aware that there are resources available to prevent the spread of measles. Vaccination measures in turn, help to protect all our children and residents.”
In 2000, measles was considered eliminated in the United States. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019 has the second highest number of measles cases in the United States in 25 years. Complications include pneumonia, ear infections, swelling on the brain, and negative impacts on pregnancy. The safe and effective MMR shot (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, also known as German or three-day measles) is the best way to protect against infection.
Measles, a virus that become airborne when an infected person coughs or sneezes, can live in the air and on exposed surfaces for up to two hours. Measles in considered highly contagious with 90% of those who are unvaccinated contracting the disease when exposed.
The CDC continues to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated on schedule with the MMR vaccine. People 6 months and older should be protected with the vaccine, especially before leaving on international trips.
Union County’s Immunization Clinic, in operation since 1995, is part of the federal Center for Disease Control’s VFC (Vaccines For Children) program and is part of each state’s Medicaid plan. The clinic offers a series of vaccines suggested by the CDC as well as required vaccines for public school admission. Appointments are required and residents may call 908-965-3627 or 908-965-3868 to schedule. The county’s clinic is located at 40 Parker Road, Elizabeth, and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For additional information and resources on measles please visit the New Jersey Department of Health’s measles website (https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/measles.shtml), the NPHIC (https://www.nphic.org/members-area/measles-resources/#20190416-nh) or CDC’s measles website (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html).
For personal assistance with any service provided by the Union County Department of Human Services, call the UCDHS Action Line at 888-845-3434 or 908-558-2288.