More interest in vaccinations in wake of measles outbreak: NOS

Photo: SELF Magazine

Health boards across the country are fielding more questions from parents about the combined vaccination against mumps, measles and rubella (BMR), following last week’s outbreak of measles in Eindhoven, broadcaster NOS has found.

NOS contacted nine of the 25 regional health boards, some of which reported “a slight increase”, while inquiries at health board Brabant-Zuidoost, which includes Eindhoven, had doubled in the last week. Utrecht regional health board said it had been receiving 100 to 200 more phone calls about the BMR vaccine.

A health board spokesman said most of the calls came from parents who wanted more information and who did not necessarily want to follow this up with an appointment to have the vaccine administered to their child.

“Because this hit the headlines, they want more information. We refer them to the site of the RIVM health institute,” he said.

The most frequently asked question concerned the vaccination age of babies, NOS found. Many parents asked whether their child could be vaccinated against measles before the legal vaccination age of 14 months. Only babies who are at risk can be vaccinated sooner, for instance, if they are traveling to a country where measles is common, or if there is a person with the disease in their environment.

Health boards are also getting questions from adults who are not sure if and when they have been vaccinated, and from parents who did not have their child vaccinated and want to know if that is still possible.

Amsterdam is the only region where parents wanted to know if it is possible to have just one of the three vaccinations from the combined BMR vaccination, measles in particular. That is not the case, the health board said.

Many of the callers also asked about the vaccination against whooping cough, which killed four babies in short succession this year. Flevoland regional health board said more pregnant women had requested the vaccine. “We do not ask for the reason, we just give information. It’s important they get the jab. Whooping cough is a dangerous illness,” a spokesman told the broadcaster.

Uptake of vaccinations has fallen to dangerously low levels, the RIVM has said, exposing children to avoidable and potentially dangerous childhood diseases.

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