Poland among nations preparing to roll out anti-measles vaccines

Poland and Estonia are expected to follow suit.

Medical officials in both these countries say strong acceptance of the vaccination for the virus, dubbed a ‘risk control strategy’, has made a prescription of the vaccine imperative.

The countrywide vaccination programme for measles and rubella is also expected to save the country hundreds of millions of euros in health care expenses.

“This will not only save money but will also encourage parents to have their children vaccinated, which will help in curbing the current diseases,” Interior Minister Herbert Kickl told reporters on Monday.

About 80 percent of infants under the age of five received the vaccination in last year’s campaign, according to health officials.

The vaccination is administered in three doses at a minimum.

Romania is also making preparations for a nationwide campaign of measles and rubella vaccination.

Government plan for phase two

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is a highly contagious viral disease that results in painful, uncontrollable seizures.

A vaccine to prevent measles exists and has been successfully used for years. The WHO recommends the vaccination.

However, in Poland and Hungary there are reports of vaccination uptake levels that are well below the WHO recommended norm.

Measles is not a common cause of death but affects one child in 50, killing some 700 children a year, according to WHO figures.

“We also need to examine if the protocol has been set up in the right way, as the virus is contagious even when the dose has been lowered, and not only to other persons, but to both children and adults,” Health Minister Peter Cherniak told parliament.

The outbreak has been reported in the central and eastern regions of Poland, southeastern Poland and in northeastern Slovakia.

The health ministry said as many as 1,500 cases have already been recorded since the onset of the outbreak, and it expects about 10,000 new infections.

About 900,000 children under the age of five are unprotected in Poland.

By law, Poland’s health secretary must prepare a second vaccine campaign by January that would include administering the immunity booster in January 2019.

Some 96 percent of Polish adults have been vaccinated with measles vaccine.

Health officials said awareness programs and social media campaigns are also being prepared.

Leave a Comment