More adults need to be vaccinated against measles, warn healthcare professionals

Free MMR jabs should be available to everyone, say doctors

Healthcare professionals have expressed concern about the low numbers of people in Denmark currently vaccinated against measles, a disease that could easily outbreak again, they warn.

Bruno Melgaard Jensen, the chairman of the doctors' union PLO at Danske Regioner, said the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) should be free for anyone over 18 who has not been vaccinated or has not already had the diseases.

“If you have too many people unvaccinated in a society, there is a greater risk that a disease like measles will spread,” Jensen told DR Nyheder. 

Jensen said that 95 percent of a population needed to be vaccinated to protect a community against infectious diseases like measles. Usually, the MMR vaccine is given to children when they are 15 months old and again at the age of four. 

Vaccines for all
Women over 18 are offered the MMR vaccine for free. A woman who contracts rubella during pregnancy could give birth to a child with birth defects. Jensen said that it does not make sense to vaccinate women and not men.

“It is obvious that we must target the group of young men who are not vaccinated,” he said.

Failed program
From 1 April to 31 December 2012, it was possible for young adults born between 1974 and 1994 to get the MMR vaccine for free if they had not been vaccinated previously or had the disease. The offer was designed to increase immunity against measles.

Between 70,000 and 100,000 people were targeted, but the program had limited success, with only 1,933 people taking advantage of the free vaccine.

“I can't say how many would sign up, but we need to use all of the resources we have,” he said. “It is a mystery to me why young men are not given the same offer as young women.”

Too many unvaccinated
Jensen said that too many teenagers are walking around unvaccinated. 

“There is a group of young men and young women who, for various reasons,  have not been vaccinated,” he said. “Their families may have forgotten, and there are parents who do not want their children vaccinated.”

READ MORE: Measles reported in Copenhagen: Nearly 200 may have been exposed

Jensen believes there should be more focus on the immunisation program for children.





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