Ukrainian Adults Need Measles Vaccination Too

Measles vaccination travel alert issued by CDC for the Ukraine

Ukrainian Airlines jet

The measles outbreak in Europe continues to expand, according to World Health Organization (WHO) reports.

But, health officials may not be expanding immunization programs fast enough to stop this measles outbreak.

For the European Region as a whole, more measles cases have been reported for the first 2 months of 2018, than in the previous 5 years.

The country of Ukraine has been battling a measles outbreak during 2018, now reporting a total of 11,720 cases, and 8 fatalities.

As of the April 22, 2018 reporting period, 7,156 children have been confirmed with measles.

“This situation in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining a robust immunization program,” said Chris Felton, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, MTM and Immunization Specialist for Brookshire Grocery Company.  “A loss of focus can result in significant outbreaks of diseases that have been essentially forgotten by the general public.”

To reduce the current measles outbreak, the Public Health Center of the Health Ministry of Ukraine has decided to extend enhanced vaccination services for all age groups of children.

But, the health ministry has only agreed to ‘study’ the possibility of offering adult vaccination for measles.

Over 4,500 adults in the Ukraine have already been confirmed with measles during 2018.

“Ukrainian health authorities, with WHO support, have recovered huge ground in the fight against measles. But there are still many vulnerable children and adults in the country, and this highly infectious disease continues to find them,” says Marthe Everard, WHO Representative in Ukraine.

“More needs to be done to ensure that everyone is protected.”

The WHO ranks Ukraine last in terms of measles-vaccination coverage in Europe, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 

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In 2008, 95 percent of eligible children in Ukraine received their second (and final) recommended dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) on time according to the national routine schedule.

By 2016, this rate had fallen to 31 percent, among the lowest in the world, says the WHO.

By the end of 2017, routine measles vaccination coverage had drastically improved, with 93 percent of 1-year-olds received the first dose of MMR on time, and 91 percent of 6-year-olds received their second dose as recommended.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has issued Level 1 Travel Alerts for the Ukraine.

Additionally, people 6 months of age and older who will be traveling internationally should be protected against measles. 

And, women of childbearing age should check with their doctor to make sure they are vaccinated before they get pregnant. Women of childbearing age who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

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In the USA, two approved measles vaccines are available, MMR-II and ProQuad.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information, and vaccine discounts can be found here.

Measles vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.