SCOTTSBLUFF ― Over 1,000 cases of both measles and mumps have been reported nationwide since January. The outbreaks are alarming, considering measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mumps cases had decreased more than 99 percent by 1989.

Regional West Community Health Director Paulette Schnell, RN, MSN, who also serves as the Scotts Bluff County Health Director, said that no cases of measles have been reported in Nebraska this year, but mumps have been reported in Nebraska and nearby states. She added that Nebraska has one of the country’s highest vaccination rates.

“The best protection against both measles and mumps is to be sure all vaccinations are up to date,” she said.

Immunizations are one of the successes of modern medicine. Before the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) was developed, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles and hundreds died from it each year. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer opportunities for a disease to spread. By following standard childhood immunization schedules, children are protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, including whooping cough, tetanus, and hepatitis A.

Immunizations are required to attend Nebraska schools and are covered by most insurance companies and Medicaid. Booster shots are also important for teens and adults.

Regional West Community Health offers vaccinations for all ages from birth to seniors. The Immunization Clinic is held on the first, second, and third Tuesdays of the month from 3 to 6 p.m.

The adult walk-in clinic is offered weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. No appointment is needed.

Children with no health coverage can be vaccinated through the CDC Vaccines for Children program at no cost. No child will be turned away due to an inability to pay.

To schedule an immunization appointment, or for more information about vaccinations or the Immunization Clinic, call Regional West Community Health at 308-630-1580.

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