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Measles only one flight away from Utah

Vials of Priorix, Synflorix and Hexyon children's vaccines, which combat diseases incuding mealses, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, stand on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s already shaping up to be one of the worst years for measles outbreaks across the country, and Utah health officials say we are just one airline flight away from the virus reaching our state.

An Intermountain Healthcare specialist tells the Deseret News that if people are not getting vaccinated, they are putting others at risk.

Dr. Tamara Sheffield says Utahns don’t need to panic but do need to think carefully about their own personal responsibility if they are not immunized against the measles and other diseases.

It’s not too late to get the measles or MMR shot or booster. New York City health officials have made vaccinations mandatory in their hardest-hit communities, with fines up to $1,000 for noncompliance.

19 states have reported outbreaks since the year 2019 began.