Due to a drop in measles vaccine uptake, some children whose families go abroad for the Easter holidays are at greater risk of infection.
Easles outbreaks have been reported in a number of countries, including the US, South Africa, Nepal and Austria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said there was an increased risk of measles spreading to children due to lower uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine following the pandemic.
The VGM said the latest information showed an uptake rate of only 88 percent in the 2020 to 2021 school year for the second dose of the MMR vaccine in this country, which is given in kindergarten.
That compares to 91 percent reported for the 2019 to 2020 school year.
The HSE said both admission rates were below the 95% recommended by the WHO to prevent measles transmission. The low rates signal clear gaps in protection.
Dr. Suzanne Cotter, a public health specialist at the Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC), said measles is highly contagious and can be an acute and serious infection.
“It causes a rash, with cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and high fever,” she said.
“Complications of measles include ear infections, pneumonia, febrile convulsions and, less commonly, encephalitis – inflammation of the brain – and even death.
“The only protection against measles is vaccination. Two doses of MMR vaccine are needed, and if a child is not fully protected, MMR vaccines are available from your GP or travel clinic.
The disruption to education during the worst of the pandemic, as well as the children staying home after contracting Covid-19, would have contributed significantly to the drop in vaccinations here.
The HSE also had to redeploy staff who would normally have come to schools to deliver the vaccine.
This continued last year, and when the HSE was questioned about schools in one area – the north Dublin city and county, with deprived areas – the HSE said some public health nursing teams had been redeployed to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. 19 crisis.
Given this pressure on resources, the centralized school vaccination program, which was underway at the Swords vaccination center, was designed to ensure maximum supply and use of vaccines, including the MMR jab.
“We are aware that some schools may have low vaccination rates at the Swords Vaccination Center due to factors such as geographic location or Deis status,” said an HSE spokesperson.
“It is our intention to organize local, targeted clinics for students who cannot go to the vaccination center or, where possible, to schools with low attendance rates.
“Upon completion of this round of vaccinations and when the redeployment of key immunization personnel is no longer necessary, we will be able to focus our attention on these targeted clinics.”
Dr. Lucy Jessop, director of the National Vaccination Agency, said the booster
MMR dose was provided by HSE school vaccination teams, and if a child had missed their MMR it was not too late to be protected.
One case of measles can cause another 12 to 15 cases. If 1,000 people get measles, one or two die, 50 get an ear infection and 40 get pneumonia or bronchitis.
Meanwhile, the latest numbers come on a mysterious
form of childhood hepatitis shows 38 cases through the end of this month, all since October 2021.
The HSE said 37 of the cases had been hospitalized. There was one death and two had early liver transplants.