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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2019
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS FREE MEASLES VACCINES ON FRIDAY, MAY 17 IN SUFFERN


NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents six months and older to get a free measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine on Friday, May 17, from 9 am to 12 pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, located at 65 Washington Avenue in Suffern, NY 10901.

As of May 8, there are 225 confirmed reported cases of measles in the county since the outbreak began in October 2018. Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on earth; 90% of unvaccinated people exposed to the virus become infected. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to two hours after that person is gone. You can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash.

"Due to Rockland's small geographic size, exposure to the highly contagious measles virus may occur anywhere in the county. I can't stress enough the importance of being up-to-date with your measles vaccination. It's the best way to help protect yourself, your family, and the community, especially those who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions," said Dr. Ruppert. Since the outbreak began, the Health Department together with partners such as Refuah Health Center and private pediatricians and family doctors have administered over 20,000 doses of MMR vaccine.

Free MMR vaccines are also available by calling:

  • The Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2497 or 845-364-2520 to schedule an appointment to get a free MMR vaccine at the Pomona health complex.
  • The Rockland County Department of Health Spring Valley Family Planning Clinic is also providing MMR vaccines, by appointment to Family Planning patients. Family Planning Clinic patients can call 845-364-2531 to schedule an appointment.

MMR vaccines are also available at local health care providers or by calling a local federally qualified health center, such as Refuah or Hudson River Health Care. The federally qualified health centers see patients on a sliding fee scale and by appointment. They may require patients new to their centers to have a well visit first, before a vaccine can be given. Visit www.nachc.org/about/about-our-health-centers/find-a-health-center/ to find the locations of federally qualified health centers in Rockland.

The Health Department is actively working to contain the further spread of measles. If you are ill with a fever, rash, or conjunctivitis (red watery eyes), please help protect our community - stay home, do not have visitors, and do not go out in public. If you have symptoms consistent with measles, contact your health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

"It is critically important that those who are still not vaccinated come out and get this shot as it is the one safe, surefire way of preventing measles," said County Executive Ed Day. "I applaud our residents who have received the over 20,000 MMR vaccinations given in Rockland during our measles outbreak; thank you for doing what is necessary to protect our most vulnerable residents from this dangerous disease."

The Health Department is asking all health care providers to immediately report all cases of suspect measles to the Rockland County Department of Health Communicable Disease Program staff by calling (845) 364-2997 during normal business hours, or (845) 364-8600 after hours/weekends. Health Care Providers can also call this number for additional information.

Residents can get more information about measles by visiting https://bit.ly/2zh4v1G and by calling the New York State Department of Health toll free Measles Information Line at (888) 364-4837.