HSE warn of measles amid low uptake of MMR vaccine in children

Recent data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, "shows a worrying drop in the uptake of childhood vaccines in two-year-olds".
HSE warn of measles amid low uptake of MMR vaccine in children

Elaine Keogh

The HSE has warned about the dangers of measles amid a drop in the uptake of childhood vaccinations, including the MMR vaccine, and it is urging parents and guardians to ensure their child’s routine vaccinations are up-to-date.

Recent data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, "shows a worrying drop in the uptake of childhood vaccines in two-year-olds".

"By the time children reach their second birthday they should have completed their Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule, including 1st dose of MMR vaccine."

A decrease was seen across all childhood vaccines in Ireland, with the percentage of two-year-olds who received one dose of MMR vaccine falling below 90 per cent. Prior to the pandemic period, uptake rates had not dropped below 90 per cent since 2010.

In Area A, which is Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan and North Dublin, the uptake is even lower than the national rate and significantly lower than the 95 per cent target, which the HSE said, "means that many children are not protected from these highly contagious and potentially very dangerous diseases."

As a result, approximately one in six two-year olds in Louth are unvaccinated against measles while in counties Meath, Cavan, Monaghan and in North Dublin it is approximately one in eight.

On Friday it warned that, "Measles is an acute, highly contagious infectious disease that can lead to serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain and even death. Young children especially those aged under 5 and individuals with underlying immune conditions are particularly at risk. Although it is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age."

Dr Lois O’Connor, HSE Public Health Doctor urged parents and guardians to make sure their child gets their childhood vaccinations.

She said: “children who have missed their recommended childhood vaccinations during the pandemic are at risk of catching measles. The MMR vaccines can be given at any age, if missed out during infancy.”

“The MMR vaccine is included in the national childhood immunisation programme, and is a safe and effective vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella infections. To ensure full protection, two doses are administered to babies and young children with the first dose at 12 months from your practice nurse or GP and the second dose when your child is in junior infants as part of the HSE school vaccination programme,” she added.

 

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