As a measles outbreak has been confirmed in Dublin, Ireland's Health Minister has spoken out
Ireland’s Minister for Health TD Simon Harris has said he “instinctively agrees” that healthy, unvaccinated children should be banned from attending schools.
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He added, however, that it may be a constitutional issue.
TD Harris made his comments on Twitter in response to a tweet from Dr. Dominic Rowley, who urged the Wicklow TD to “Take a bold step and #banhealthyunvaccinatedkids from crèche/ school. It’s a really simple life saving concept:”
Vaccines weren’t invented for a bit of craic . @SimonHarrisTD . Take a bold step and #banhealthyunvaccinatedkids from crèche/ school. It's a really simple life saving concept. We should be protecting those kids who cannot receive #vaccines— Dr. Dominic Rowley (@rowley_dominic) April 7, 2019
TD Harris replied:
Instinctively agree. Think we may have constitutional issues here. Will research further. #VaccinesSaveLives— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 7, 2019
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The Irish Times reports that while Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccination rates in Ireland are high, they have dipped in recent years below the 95 percent which is recommended for “herd immunity.”
The Journal reports that there were 74 reported cases Ireland in 2018, up from 25 reported cases in 2017.
Since February of this year, there have been 18 reported cases of measles in Dublin.
Last week, Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said in a statement regarding Dublin’s recent measles outbreak: "Measles is a serious illness and is highly infectious.”
"The best protection is to be vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. People planning to travel abroad should make sure they are protected from measles. Those who have not been vaccinated with the 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 before traveling.”
"Measles symptoms include fever, red rash, red eyes, cough, and runny nose. The rash usually starts a few days after the onset of illness. It typically starts on the head and spreads down the body."
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Dr. Maitiu O Tuathail, president of the National Association of General Practitioners in Ireland (NAGPI), said last month that the “single biggest driving force for the reduction in vaccination uptake is misinformation on social media.”
“That is having an impact, it’s concerning people unnecessarily and putting people off getting vaccines, and we’re seeing that at the moment.”
He added: “There’s an outbreak of measles in north county Dublin, and that is only because the uptake of the MMR vaccine is much lower than it should be, and that is as a result of misinformation on social media.”
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