Japan Offering Middle-Aged Men Free Rubella Vaccination

CDC Travel Alert Level 2 remains active for Japan’s rubella outbreak

mt fuji in japan

The Japanese government said rubella vaccinations will be offered at no cost to all Japanese men who were not vaccinated in their childhood, reported China.org. 

This 3-year program for men between the ages of 39 and 56 years old, is in response to an ongoing rubella outbreak in Japan. 

As of early December 2018, 2,454 individuals have been diagnosed with rubella in Japan this year. 

"We have compiled the additional measure for the safety of the people. We will help municipalities organize antibody tests and vaccinations," said Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Mr. Takumi Nemoto.  

This action by the Japanese government comes amid the concerns related to international visitors attending the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games during 2020.   

Rubella, also called German measles, is a virus spread by the coughs and sneezes of infected people, says the CDC.   

Most people who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. 

To inform Americans prior to visiting Japan, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its Travel Alert status to Level 2 on October 22, 2018.   

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This CDC Travel Alert is important to the 4.5 million annual visitors to Japan. 

Additionally, the CDC warned that pregnant women should not travel to Japan unless they have been vaccinated or previously infected with rubella. 

Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant. 

In the USA, there are 2 approved rubella vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad. 

American travelers to Japan can request an MMR vaccine appointment with a pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And, MMR vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.