Measles cases resurface. How many are protected? What’s the vaccination rate in Florida?

Measles cases have resurfaced in South Florida, with a cluster of kids falling ill at a Broward County school.

There are at least six confirmed cases of measles at Manatee Bay Elementary School, a K-5 school in Weston. Health experts say the virus poses a risk to those who are not vaccinated and have never had a previous infection. For those who are vaccinated, an infection is unlikely because of how well the vaccine works, experts say.

So, what’s the situation looking like in South Florida?

Here’s what to know about vaccinations:

About the measles vaccine

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, is mandatory to attend all public and private childcare and K-12 schools in Florida, though some students may be eligible for medical or religious exemptions.

One dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, is about 93% effective, with two doses about 97% effective, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kids should get the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. About 3 of 100 people vaccinated with two doses will fall ill if exposed to the virus, the CDC says.

READ MORE: Should you worry about measles in South Florida? What to know as school cases found

Measles cases in Florida

Florida has seen 40 confirmed cases of measles in the last decade, including some in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, state data shows.

The six Broward elementary school cases are the only ones recorded for 2024. Miami-Dade had one confirmed measles case recorded in September, the data shows. The data doesn’t provide vaccination information.

How many of us are vaccinated against measles?

While statewide immunization data for the 2023-2024 school year wasn’t immediately available, in the 2022-2023 school year, about 91% of kindergarten students in Florida had the two MRR doses, according to a CDC report.

At Manatee Bay Elementary, where there is a cluster of measle cases, 3 percent of its students are unvaccinated, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Peter Licata said Wednesday during a Broward School Board meeting. Licata told board members that 33 of the 1,067 students at the K-5 school in Weston don’t have the MMR vaccine for “various reasons” that he didn’t mention.

READ MORE: 3% of students are unvaccinated at Broward school with measles cases, superintendent says

While county-level data for the 2023-2024 and 2022-2023 school year wasn’t immediately available, in the 2021-2022 school year, about 92% of public and private kindergarten students in Broward and Miami-Dade met their immunization requirements, including two MRR doses, state data shows. About 7.5% kindergarten students in Broward and nearly 8% of kindergarten students in Miami-Dade had a medical or religious exemption. That is below the 95% vaccination threshold health experts say is needed for herd immunity against measles.

The U.S. has seen a nationwide decline in childhood vaccinations since the COVID pandemic, an alarming trend that could increase the “risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases,” according to the CDC.

Last school year, vaccination coverage among kindergarten students nationwide remained below pre-pandemic levels, while exemptions increased, according to the CDC. “It is not clear whether this reflects a true increase in opposition to vaccination, or if parents are opting for nonmedical exemptions because of barriers to vaccination or out of convenience,” the CDC noted in its report.