Anti-vaccination behind increase in measles cases, says expert

Anti-vaccination behind increase in measles cases, says expert

Anti-vaccination behind increase in measles cases, says expert

The decrease in childhood vaccination rates due to the effect of anti-vaccination, which became widespread during the pandemic, and the difficulty of following up due to irregular migration have caused the re-emergence of measles cases, an expert has warned.

“We hospitalized a measles case for the first time in years,” said professor Haluk Çokuğraş, the head of the Turkish Pediatrics Institution, stressing that an epidemic may occur again if the vaccination rate falls below 95 percent.

Measles vaccines, included in the childhood immunization schedule implemented by the Health Ministry and administered at the sixth month, first, fourth and sixth year, are 99 percent effective to protect children from measles, which is a viral disease.

The vaccines, which have been used safely since the 1960s, may not be administered in families who reject childhood vaccination due to the anti-vaxxer propaganda that has risen with the COVID pandemic.

“Some people don’t get vaccinated because they’re really confused, but some are fundamentally anti-vaccine,” the professor said. “The hostility developed against COVID vaccines during the pandemic turned into being also against childhood vaccines.”

Not vaccinating children against a known disease is a crime against humanity as one can never foresee potentially fatal complications, he stated.

Underlining that vaccination is not just an individual decision, Çokuğraş said, “This is a social problem as if you do not vaccinate your own child, if a pregnant woman is infected by her, that woman’s child may die or be born disabled.”

“Moreover, if it infects some immunocompromised people, such as the elderly, a family member undergoing chemotherapy, another sibling with a compromised immune system, or a very little child, a severe outcome may occur,” the expert elaborated.

Noting that vaccine follow-ups have become more difficult due to migration waves affecting the entire world, Çokuğraş said, “We know that there are increasing numbers of measles cases everywhere, especially in the last month.”