Pop-up clinic offering free measles vaccines in North Philadelphia to combat recent outbreak

Anyone who goes can also get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, officials say.

Monday, January 15, 2024
Pop-up clinic offering free measles vaccines in North Philadelphia
Pop-up clinic offering free measles vaccines in North Philadelphia to combat recent outbreak

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Black Doctors COVID Consortium offered free measles vaccines Monday to combat a recent outbreak in the Philadelphia area.

There have been at least eight cases of measles reported in the city, as well as a confirmed case in Camden County, New Jersey.

"Some people will say it's only eight people or nine people," Dr. Ala Stanford told Action News. "Measles is more contagious than COVID by sevenfold. That means one person can infect up to 20 people."

Stanford also said the virus stays in the air for more than two hours.

She said one of the reasons they held this free clinic is because MMR vaccinations in the U.S. have dropped. According to Stanford, the country is currently at a 93% vaccination rate, but she said herd immunity requires 95% of the population to be vaccinated.

"Measles can cause a respiratory illness that leads to pneumonia. It can also cause encephalitis, swelling of the brain and inflammation that can lead to permanent neurological damage and also death," Stanford said. "The fact that it was eradicated in 2000 and that we're seeing it in 2024 is irresponsible. The vaccine when you get both shots is 97% effective, and even those who happen to get measles and they were vaccinated, it's still a lesser illness."

For anyone still in need of a vaccine, Stanford said to call her health clinic at 484-270-6200. The clinic is located at 2001 West Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia.

In Camden County, health officials are working to identify close contacts after a measles case was confirmed there.

Caryelle Lasher, the director of the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, said the case was confirmed on Friday.

"The case had attended daycare, so we quickly had to identify everyone in the daycare and their immunization status. Identify anyone who had been exposed," Lasher said. "Walk through the process, what that means for each person."

County officials said the resident who was exposed to measles visited two health care facilities on January 5 and January 8.

The time and place of the visits were:

- Friday, January 5 from 11:35 a.m. to 2:32 p.m. Cooper University Healthcare Pediatrics, 6400 Main St, Voorhees Township, NJ 08043

- Monday, January 8, 8 p.m. to 12:38 a.m. Emergency Department at Jefferson South Jersey Stratford Hospital, 18 Laurel Road Stratford, NJ 08084

"Measles is very contagious and can have severe consequences... We've been seeing the news for weeks now in Philadelphia and now it's here in Camden County," Lasher said.