Parents urged to make sure children are vaccinated against measles as holiday season approaches


The HSE is urging parents to make sure children are vaccinated against measles as holiday season approaches.

A measles outbreak in west Cork has now affected 51 children, including two who have been hospitalised, showing just how infectious measles is, how serious infection can be, and the importance of vaccination to prevent unnecessary illness and the associated complications. Most of the children infected in Cork are teenagers and 88% of cases have never received any dose of MMR vaccine. This large and rapidly spreading outbreak is a major concern not only to people in West Cork but for the whole of Ireland.

Vaccination with MMR is the only way to protect against measles. Failure to vaccinate leaves children exposed to a serious and potentially fatal disease. But just as importantly, it exposes other children especially the most vulnerable babies under one year of age to this devastating disease. Children under one are those most likely to be liable to the severe complications and possibly death.

MMR vaccine is routinely provided at 12 months of age and again at preschool age (4-5 years of age), so those aged less than 12 months will not have received the vaccine. Older children who did not get the MMR vaccine at these ages need to be vaccinated and their parents should contact their GP. Children younger than 13 years of age who missed out on MMR vaccine can still get it free of charge from their GP. Older children and teenagers can get the vaccine free but may have to pay an administration fee.

HSE press release 1/6/12 - available here