Australia Promotes Vaccine Education to Combat Measles Outbreaks

Australians born between 1966 and 1994 may have received only 1 MMR vaccine dose

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The country of Australia launched a major measles education campaign to encourage its residents to get vaccinated. 

Particularly those traveling overseas. 

The announcement by Australian Health Minister Hon Greg Hunt MP, said ‘there were 83 measles cases so far in 2019, compared to 103 for all of 2018, reported SCMP.   

“I am concerned about the recent increases in measles cases in Australia and want to make sure our community is well protected against this very serious disease,” Hunt said.   

Hunt also warned that ‘due to changing vaccine schedules for Australians born between 1966 and 1994, some people may have received only 1 dose of vaccine, instead of 2, making them more susceptible to measles viruses.’ 

Currently, some 93.5 percent of 2-year-olds in Australia have received 2 doses of measles vaccine. 

Australia’s actions are in alignment with the recent World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. 

On March 30, 2019, the WHO Western Pacific Region said ‘countries are putting babies, children and young people at significant health risk.’ 

Nine countries and areas in the Region have been previously verified as having eliminated measles, are currently reporting cases: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR (China), Japan, Macao SAR (China), New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.   

So far in 2019, the Philippines has reported 23,000 cases with 333 deaths, which is more than all of 2018. 

“In recent months, we’ve seen how swiftly and easily measles can make a comeback in communities where not enough children have been immunized,” said WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai. 

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“The resurgence of measles around the world has resulted in increased importation of the virus to several countries in our Region,” explained Dr. Kasai. 

“What we want to stop is large-scale outbreaks resulting from those importations.”

To alert international travelers, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention re-issued 17 measles Travel Alerts during 2019. 

According to the CDC, measles is often brought into the USA by unvaccinated people who become infected abroad. 

These international travelers then spread measles upon their return, which cause outbreaks in the USA. 

Such as the current measles outbreak in the State of New York.

International travelers can request a pre-trip vaccine counseling appointment at Vax-Before-Travel.         

In the USA, there are 2 approved measles vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. And, measles vaccine discounts at GoodRx can be found here.

Vaccines, similar to medications, can cause side effects, says the CDC. Significant vaccine side effects should be reported to the CDC.