Tuesday 20 August 2019

Harris to explore plans to ban children that are not vaccinated against measles from creches and schools

Simon Harris: The Health Minister wants ‘patients to see the benefits’. Photo: PA
Simon Harris: The Health Minister wants ‘patients to see the benefits’. Photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Health Minister Simon Harris said he is to explore plans to ban children who are not vaccinated against measles from creches and schools.

He said this is now “part of the debate” in the EU and he is to consult with European colleagues.

Sending a child who is not vaccinated against measles to school is an “irresponsible and dangerous thing to do.”

The take up rate for the MMR vaccine in Ireland is 92pc and the target 95pc.

The warning comes in the wake of new figures showing the outbreak of measles in Dublin has worsened with eighteen cases – up from ten reported cases last week.

There have now been eighteen cases in Dublin since the start of February 2019.

Recent cases have involved young adults working in the city centre. Travel to Europe has been identified as a risk with some cases developing measles after trips to France, Poland, the Netherlands and Lithuania.

Measles is a serious illness and is highly infectious. The best protection is to be vaccinated with MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.

People planning to travel abroad should make sure they are protected from measles, said the HSE.

Those who have not been vaccinated with MMR vaccine or have not had measles in the past are at risk of measles. If unsure whether they had the vaccine they should speak to their GP about getting the MMR vaccine before travelling.

Measles symptoms include fever, red rash, red eyes, cough and runny nose. The rash usually starts a few days after onset of illness. It typically starts on the head and spreads down the body. There is a risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after contact with a case of measles.

If you think you may have measles, stay at home and phone your GP for advice.

People who are sick should not attend settings such as crèche, school, work or religious gatherings until they have recovered from illness.

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