Endangered immunity: Low vaccination rates trigger a resurgence of measlesNovember 30, 20182 min read
The measles vaccine prevented approximately 21.1 million deaths from 2000 through 2017, a recent CNN article reports:
Yet measles, a disease that has been close to elimination in many countries, is making a comeback that threatens this eliminated status. A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there was a 31% increase in measles cases globally from 2016 to 2017.
An article published online by an IFA partner organization, VaccinesToday, early in 2018 warned of the increasing risk of measles in Europe, stating that the number of cases is increasing, especially in countries where vaccination coverage rates are low.
Low vaccination coverage rates put people in the community – who may be unable to have a vaccine due to age or ill health – at risk of contracting diseases such as measles. In contrast, according to VaccinesToday, high vaccination uptake rates of 95% would result in herd immunity which can offer protection to those who are unable to be vaccinated.
The WHO and CDC report states that efforts to increase vaccination coverage, combat vaccine hesitancy, and strengthen health systems are vital in preventing measles, and other highly contagious vaccine-preventable diseases, from wreaking havoc on populations.
Recognizing the significant impact of vaccine-preventable diseases globally, the IFA works from a life course perspective to improve vaccination rates in various regions of the world, having convened expert meetings on adult vaccination in Latin America, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe, with the goal of building national, regional, and international capacity to improve vaccination policies and practices.
IFA expert Professor Raina MacIntyre is a specialist in infectious diseases and vaccinology who can speak to issues impacting vaccination rates, as well as high measles vaccine coverage sustained in the Western Pacific Region – including Australia, and what it will take for other regions to achieve this level of coverage and prevent outbreaks.
Prof. Raina MacIntyre Head, School of Public Health and Community Medicine & Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology
Prof. MacIntyre is an international expert in infectious diseases, vaccinology (especially for the elderly) and biosecurity.