Parents are being advised to get children vaccinated against measles as an outbreak spreads across Europe.

The HSE has urged parents to ensure children are vaccinated before any summer travel, as a number of countries have reported measles outbreaks.  It is also important that older children going to language colleges or other summer camps are up to date with their MMR vaccine.

In 2017 there are outbreaks of measles reported in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom: – the number of cases of measles reported is much greater than in previous years. This is a clear and present danger for Irish holidaymakers who are not vaccinated.

Measles is a very contagious disease and can affect anyone at any age. Vaccination with MMR vaccine protects against measles. The first MMR dose is usually given by GPs at 12 months of age, and the second dose is given to children when they are 4 or 5 years old. It is never too late to catch up.

Despite the availability of free and effective vaccines, a small number of people make the personal choice not to vaccinate themselves or their children or to delay vaccination leaving people vulnerable to the disease.

The HSE urges all parents not to delay getting the MMR for their child when it is due and any parent who has questions about vaccination should speak to their family doctor, or alternatively visit the National Immunisation office website (

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The National Immunisation office website has clear and accurate information and will answer queries people may have about the benefits or risks of vaccination. Older children and young adults who have not completed- or are not sure they have completed- their two dose MMR vaccination schedule should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The HSE reminds people of Ireland’s fairly recent experience. The scare surrounding the MMR vaccine in the 1990s resulted in a large reduction in uptake rates for this vaccine. In January 2000, a large outbreak of measles occurred in Dublin and resulted in more than 100 children being hospitalised, 13 children required intensive care treatment and sadly three children died from Measles, a vaccine preventable illness.

A HSE spokesperson said: “People need to be aware that a decision not to vaccinate may put their own life and that of their child at risk, and it may also put at risk other vulnerable individuals that they come into contact with – people with a reduced immunity, such as sick and elderly vulnerable patients, pregnant women or small babies who have not yet completed all their vaccinations.

“Sometimes we need to be reminded to protect ourselves and our children by vaccinating ourselves and our own family members. The MMR is safe and effective.”

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