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RELEASE: Rep. Ilhan Omar Requests Action on Measles Legislation

Monday, May 1, 2017

SAINT PAUL, MINN – Today, Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) requested to suspend Minnesota House rules and debate HF 2630, a bill to address the current Minnesota measles outbreak.

Rep. Omar released the following statement:

"With the recent incidence of measles cases among unvaccinated children, especially in the Somali American community, we all need to take steps to reduce the spread of this virus.

“We need to be taking all necessary steps to encourage parents of all backgrounds in every Minnesota community to get their children vaccinated and prevent the spread of the measles virus to yourself or others. I want you and your children, and everyone in the community to be safe. The best thing you can do right now is to make sure everyone who is able to get the MMR vaccine gets it.

“I requested that we suspend the rules today to debate HF 2630 so that our health professionals can do more outreach, education, and increase the number of vaccinated Minnesotans to prevent the spread of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases now and in the future."

The House did not act favorably on the motion to suspend the rules.

Rep. Omar’s bill would establish and appropriate $500,000 in 2018 for an immunization grant program for specific geographic areas and populations experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to hospitalization and in rare cases death. Measles spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing. You can get measles by just being in the same room as someone who has measles.

Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a rash that typically spreads from head to the rest of the body. A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before their rash appears to four days after it appears.

For parents concerned about the cost of immunizations, the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program provides free or low-cost vaccines for eligible children through age 18. More information is available at Can My Child Get Free or Low Cost Shots?

For more information on measles, updates on the outbreak and important contact info you can go to the Minnesota Department of Health website here. You can also find a Measles fact sheet translated in Somali and other languages here.