Offaly/North Tipperary TD and Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has urged parents to ensure local children are vaccinated before any summer travel. This call comes as a number of countries have reported measles outbreaks.
“Measles is very contagious disease and can affect anyone at any age. Vaccination with the MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against measles. The first MMR dose is given by GPs at 12 months of age, and the second dose is given to Junior Infants at school by HSE vaccination teams across Offaly/North Tipperary," the Minister said.
“Despite the availability of free and effective vaccines, a small number of people make the personal choice not to vaccinate themselves or their children in the belief that vaccines are unsafe or no longer necessary," she added.
“I am calling on all local parents not to delay getting the MMR for their child when it is due and I would urge any parent who has doubts or questions about vaccination to engage with your family doctor, or alternatively to visit the National Immunisation office website."
“These sources of information are clear and accurate and will answer any queries you may have about the benefits or risks of vaccination. Older children and young adults who have not completed their two dose MMR vaccination schedule should be vaccinated as soon as possible," she continued.
In Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden - the number of cases of measles reported in January-February 2017 was more than double that of the first two months of 2016. "This is a clear and present danger for Irish holidaymakers who are not vaccinated," Corcoran Kennedy commented.
“It is also important that older children going to language colleges or other summer camps are up to date with their MMR vaccine. We know what can happen from our own fairly recent experience. The scare surrounding the MMR vaccine in the 1990s resulted in a large reduction in uptake rates for this vaccine," the Offaly deputy explained.
“People need to be aware that a personal decision not to vaccinate has a wider public impact. Such a decision may put their own life and that of their child at risk, and it may also put at risk other vulnerable individuals that they come into contact with – people with a reduced immunity such as sick and elderly vulnerable patients, pregnant women or small babies who have not yet completed all their vaccinations."
“It is hugely important to ensure that we vaccinate ourselves and our family members," she concluded.
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