The Health Ministry has officially declared a national measles epidemic following an alarming rise in measles cases and the substantial number of hospitalisations among infected children, the ministry announced on Wednesday.
Currently, there are nearly 2,000 cases nationwide, spread across 29 out of the 41 counties, with 80% of affected children being unvaccinated.
“Vaccination coverage with the first dose, at the national level, is 78%, and with the second dose, 62% of eligible children, being on a downward trend for more than 10 years”, states the Ministry of Health.
The outbreak was declared to facilitate the vaccination of children aged between 9 and 11 months and to address the immunisation gaps among those who are either unvaccinated or have an incomplete vaccination schedule.
According to the ministry, “the national vaccination coverage stands at 78% for the first dose and 62% for the second dose, with a declining trend over the past decade”.
The most recent paediatrician statistics reveal a nearly 20% decrease in the vaccination rate of MMR (measles, rubella, and mumps) over the last 15 years.
The primary reasons for the decline in vaccination rates are the lack of parental confidence in vaccination and misinformation.
Fear of adverse reactions is a significant concern among parents. Dr Gindrovel Dumitra has noted that parents often forget that they have been vaccinated without any adverse effects.
To avert a measles epidemic, it is imperative to vaccinate 95% of children.
“It is a situation we have encountered before and this declaration of the epidemic makes it possible to speed up the vaccination campaign”, Health Minister, Alexandru Rafila, explained on Wednesday.
In the coming weeks, the Health Ministry plans to conduct an informative campaign for parents in collaboration with family doctors, aiming to substantially increase the number of vaccinated children.
Romania also declared a measles epidemic back in September 2016, which persisted until November 2019, resulting in 18,711 measles cases and 64 deaths.
(Cătălina Mihai | Euractiv.ro)
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