22/08/2018

Vaccination Programmes Must Be Supported - SF

Vaccination programmes must be supported amid a surge in the recorded cases of measles across Ireland, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly has said.

Making the call, Deputy O'Reilly said: "Over the past number of years there has been a resurgence across this State and across Europe of deadly diseases for which there are vaccinations to prevent against.

"The genesis of this has been the spread of pseudo-scientific arguments online and the circulation of highly discredited research which has led to a loss of confidence in the vaccine among some people.

"Currently there is a continental outbreak of measles of which Ireland has not escaped. In the year so far 76 cases of measles have been detected.

"This is a staggering increase on last year when only one case was confirmed.

"Across Europe more than 41,000 people have been infected so far this year with 37 deaths recorded as a result.

"This is almost double the recorded amount in all of 2017 and eight times the recorded incidence in 2016 when only 5,273 cases were recorded.

"Vaccination rates have dropped across Europe and Ireland has been no different. To achieve herd immunity, at least 90-95% of the population need to be vaccinated.

"However, the latest provisional figures for 2016-2017, released to me by the HSE, show that only 86.2% of children received the 4-1 Vaccine and only 86% received the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Junior Dose.

"This is on the back of only 92% of children receiving the first dose of the MMR."

Deputy O'Reilly said that not vaccinating a child not only puts that child at risk, it puts us all at risk.

She concluded: "That message needs to be reinforced at every possible juncture, and if needs be, the Department of Health and the HSE should look at the possibility of rolling out an education programmes for parents on vaccinations.

"We have the mechanisms and medicines to stop and eradicated deadly diseases such as measles - but, we need to be sensible and proactive and ensure that our children are vaccinated and that we ourselves are vaccinated.

"Vaccination programmes save lives, and must be no equivocation, they must be supported."

(MH/CM)

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