Measles PSA urges vaccines

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- There's a new push to prevent more measles cases in Arizona. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is participating in a nationwide PSA program that urges parents to protect the health of all children by vaccinating their own.

The 30-second spot, developed with the support of the Big Cities Health Coalition, highlights what health officials are calling startling statistics.

Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, appears in the announcement saying about Valley residents, "there are at least 25,000 children behind in their measles vaccine."

Jasmine Miranda wasn't taking any chances, and took all three of her children to the Department of Public Health for vaccines.

"I think it is very important to vaccinate. I tell him that it is important for him not to get sick and that it's very dangerous," she said of her young son, Jose.

It's that attitude doctors say needs to resonate throughout the Valley.

"This is a community protection,"  said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Public Health. "When you have enough people in your community vaccinated, the disease can't spread and can't even get to the people who can't be vaccinated, like infants under 1 year or people who can't have vaccines for medical reasons."

Sunenshine says 94 percent of kindergartners are up to date on their measles vaccine, and between 92 and 94 percent of the rest of the community is.

She says that's not good enough, though, and certainly not enough to prevent the measles virus from spreading.

"We really need to get that percentage up to 98-99 percent," she said.

With the latest outbreak reported at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, she says there's no telling what could happen next.

"That kind of magnitude of exposure is very concerning," she said.

For more information on measles and where you can get vaccinated, visit