Minnesota public health officials hope free vaccination clinics will encourage families with unprotected children to receive their shots.
Hennepin County Immunization Services offered the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine Monday in downtown Minneapolis. Luke Ibs, age 15 months, got his shot from medical assistant Linette Combs, as mom Rachael Ibs of Minneapolis offered comfort.
News of measles infections prompted Rachael Ibs to seek an overdue vaccination for her 15-month-old son, Luke, at Monday's free clinic.
"Sorry, buddy, you're not going to like this," she said just before her son received the shot and started wailing.
Ibs was one of only a few parents at Hennepin County's clinic, which was arranged because of an unusual number of measles infections among metro-area children since February. The Minnesota Department of Health reported Monday that a 7-month-old had the measles, as well, bringing the total in this outbreak to seven.
Three cases involve Somali children who are old enough to receive the measles vaccine but haven't. Another three involve infants who are too young to receive the vaccine.
The outbreak probably started with an infant who returned from Kenya last month, the Health Department said.
Health officials are hoping more parents in the Somali community will seek shots after a forum Saturday to address their concerns about vaccine safety. Call 612-414-7739 for details about the forum.
A second free-shot clinic is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.