Leading doctor encourages MMR vaccinations
In an editorial in the Eurosurveillance Journal, Dr Marc Sprenger, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has recognised the important role of national and international public health bodies and policy makers in supporting the MMR elimination programme.
by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 3rd October 2011
The editorial addresses the issue of how to help eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases particularly measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) in the EU. The EU has not reached the elimination target set by the World Health Organization, and more than 28,000 measles cases have been reported in 2011. Measles has been responsible in the same period for eight deaths and 22 cases of acute encephalitis.
The editorial stated that:
“To reach the elimination goal, the hurdle of at least 95% coverage with two doses of MMR vaccine has to be overcome. Many EU countries are close to reaching the goal, but additional commitment has to be put in place and should involve all stakeholders. National and international public health bodies need to support the elimination programme; doctors and other frontline healthcare workers are in direct contact with parents and children and thus play a paramount role. Often parents of young children are either poorly informed or, confused by an overwhelming amount of information coming from different sources. Evidence from the literature shows that paediatricians and family doctors are in a good position to empower parents to take an informed decision about MMR vaccination for their children. The Council of the EU has recently encouraged the Members States to increase health professionals’ awareness of the benefits of vaccines and strengthen their support for immunisation programmes. Public health officers and policy makers should thus actively involve doctors in the elimination effort and call upon them to take an active stand to convince parents of the benefits of MMR vaccination”.
Levels of MMR immunisation dropped after the 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield published in the Lancet journal, who researchers believe falsified data linking the triple shot with autism and bowel disorders.The study has since been completely discredited.
The ECDC Immunisation page offers further informtion and advice about MMR and other vaccinations. NHS choices MMR gives information on the vaccine, as well support and answers to any parental concerns regarding the vaccination.
Source: European Center for Disease Prevention and Control Press Room, ECDC editorial emphasise doctors’ decisive role in helping eliminate measles, rubella in EU, 30 September 2011
Eurosurveillance (ECDC), DO EUROPEAN DOCTORS SUPPORT MEASLES, MUMPS, RUBELLA VACCINATION PROGRAMMES ENOUGH?, 29 September 2011
Photography: Tom & Katrien @Flickr