Traveling to San Francisco with unvaccinated baby
March 5, 2019 9:09 PM   Subscribe

My wife needs to attend an event in San Francisco next month, and we're thinking of going there as a family (note: we don't live in the US). However, our smallest will only be 11 months old then, and will not have been given her MMR vaccine yet. Given the rise in unvaccinated children in the US, and associated measles outbreaks, is this advisable?
posted by destrius to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Today, San Francisco reported its first case of measles since 1993. The victim caught the virus on an international flight. Personally, I would not risk it given the population density of SF + the city's heavy reliance on public transit to get around.
posted by jamaro at 9:12 PM on March 5, 2019 [8 favorites]

You're not just going to be in San Francisco, you're going through airports, increasing the number of people your baby will be exposed to.

If it were my child, the risk would be too great.
posted by homodachi at 9:31 PM on March 5, 2019 [6 favorites]

I'd be way more worried about the plane than its destination.
posted by wintersweet at 9:42 PM on March 5, 2019 [7 favorites]

You could get kiddo vaccinated now, if your pediatrician will agree to it. It won't "count" as the first MMR - she'll have to be vaccinated again after her first birthday - but if you really want to make the trip it might be worth it for peace of mind.
posted by potrzebie at 9:58 PM on March 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

In the U.K. the NHS administers the vaccine within a month of their first birthday. I see that you’re in Singapore, but as 11 months is within striking distance of that guideline I think it’s worth talking to your pediatrician about it.

And now I’m paranoid because we were planning to do the same trip but our baby will only be 7 months. Sigh.
posted by like_neon at 12:06 AM on March 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

If you decide to vaccinate, keep in mind that you need around 2 weeks to develop immunity after vaccine administration.
posted by quince at 2:14 AM on March 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I believe that infants can receive an MMR vaccine as early as 6 months in some circumstances (such as travel). Check with your doctor whether it's possible and whether there's enough time to develop sufficient antibodies.

I wouldn't feel comfortable travelling with an unvaccinated child, so if it was not possible I would not go.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:28 AM on March 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't live in San Francsico, but I do live in Los Angeles (also home to plenty of anti-vax assholes, where there have been some outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses). Furthermore, due to having family in the Bay Area, we have visited San Francisco twice recently with a baby too young to have his MMR vaccine. Our baby did not get measles. I honestly didn't even think about it, probably because my kid is about as likely to get measles right in our neighborhood as he is to get it on a weekend trip to San Francisco.

I agree that this is irrational, and that I'd probably be thinking more about it if I wasn't already living in the thick of it. I also think that, if it will set your mind at ease, go ahead and look into getting the MMR early, or defer to your pediatrician's ideas about this.

But, yeah, I was there last winter with a three month old and didn't even really think about it. My kid is fine. Your kid will be fine. If you are looking for permission to not worry about it, you have that permission from me.
posted by the milkman, the paper boy at 10:33 AM on March 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I moved to Los Angeles with my then 8 month old, from the UK, and she had her first MMR early for just this reason. I took the vaccine rates for the area we were moving to in to my GP's office and he took one look and literally swore as he picked up the phone to call the nurse in with the shot. It can be done early. It's no problem at all.

By the time we got her set up with a doc here in LA, she was due for her first proper in-sequence MMR, and the doc here saw she'd had an early dose, and declared us her favorite parents of all time.

You can do this, is what I'm saying.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 7:33 PM on March 6, 2019

The odds of getting measles are still incredibly unlikely.
posted by metasarah at 8:25 AM on March 7, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for all the replies! We're aware of the risks of flying and traveling with a young child; we mainly wanted to know if it would be relatively more risky going to SFO. We decided the best option would be to get an early MMR, like some people have suggested.

However as it turns out, the event was cancelled, and so we're not going after all. We will probably travel this year anyway, but we'll wait till she gets her 1 year old vaccines.
posted by destrius at 10:00 PM on March 13, 2019

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