Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Measles Outbreak Appears To Be Increasing Vaccination Rates

AP file Pacific Northwest Kate Brown urges vaccines as measles cases grow to 55 Posted 56 min ago AP file
Ben Pena | 08 February, 2019, 06:22

Demand for measles vaccine has surged in the Washington county where the highly contagious virus is linked to more than 50 confirmed illnesses this year - including among people who had previously shunned the shots.

Legislation in the state of NY permits vaccine exemptions for individuals who have religious beliefs against immunization.

"I think we need to strengthen our legislation", she told reporters.

Most of the countries struggling with suboptimal immunization coverage against measles in the Region are middle-income countries.

The rush to receive the MMR vaccine - which inoculates the recipient from measles, mumps and rubella - in Clark County is especially striking because the county has an unusually low vaccination rate.

However, New York legislation opposes philosophical exemptions for vaccinations, meaning that children must be up-to-date on required vaccinations in order to attend school unless they have a religious or medical exemption. Since Jan. 1, 51 confirmed cases and 13 suspect cases have been identified.

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The orders include only state-supplied medicines requested under the federal "Vaccines for Children" program, which provides free vaccinations for children who otherwise could not afford them.

A report published by the European Commission past year and compiled by a team led by Larson found that measles immunization coverage has fallen in 12 EU countries since 2010, and that seven out of the 10 countries with the lowest vaccine confidence in the world are in Europe. "We must do more and do it better to protect each and every person from diseases that can be easily avoided". Forty-two patients were not immunized against the virus, while health officials had not verified the immunization status of six patients.

"These outbreaks are associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring", the CDC says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of measles vaccine, one given at between 12 months and 15 months of age and one between ages 4 and 6.

While more children in Europe are being vaccinated against measles than ever before, progress has been "uneven" between countries and individual countries have some patches where vaccine take-up is low, it said. Three were confirmed in Harris County and one each in Galveston, Montgomery and Bell counties. "There are some more isolated, unvaccinated communities, for example the Amish, where we haven't seen a major outbreak".

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