Experts encourage vaccination to protect against measles

Experts encourage vaccination to protect against measles
Experts encourage vaccination to protect against measles | Courtesy of
Health professionals and experts remind the general public that vaccinations are the only way to prevent outbreaks of measles in the future.

This exhortation was released after the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health published an article evaluating why people do not receive vaccinations.

"Active vaccine refusal is a significant issue and leaves a large group of children at unnecessary risk of measles infection and associated complications such as pneumonia, otitis media, encephalitis and death," said Dr. Blake Dawson, co-author of the study from the University of Queensland and health professional at Gold Coast University Hospital.

New South Wales experienced a large measles outbreak in 2012. The cause was traced back to a traveler from Thailand.

There were a total of 168 measles cases confirmed from the outbreak. As many as 95 of the 168 patients had not received their measles vaccinations. Thirty-two of these people stated that they had refused to receive their measles vaccinations.

Previously, Lancet published an article in 1998 that linked the MMR vaccine to autism. This article has given many parents cause to think twice about having their children vaccinated for measles. Dawson states that studies published after the 1998 article consistently prove there is no adequate support for the theory that the MMR vaccine leads to autism. In fact, ethical dilemmas about the study caused Lancet to retract the 1998 article in 2010.

"The opinion of healthcare providers is highly valued by parents seeking information about vaccines, and communication with parents is fundamental in addressing vaccine hesitancy,” Dawson said. “Strategies such as reminder systems for patients and catch-up plans for overdue vaccinations can be used, in addition to providing parents with resources that counter anti-vaccination messages. Education needs to be directed at both healthcare providers and parents."

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Gold Coast University Hospital

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