95pc of population recommended by WHO to receive vaccine

THE World Health Organization had recommended that at least 95 per cent of the population receive two doses of the measles vaccine to achieve ‘herd immunity’.

The international health body made the recommendation following the declaration of a measles outbreak in the Serua/Namosi Subdivision on Thursday.

“This helps protect communities by slowing or stopping the spread of the virus through ensuring that most of the population is immune,” WHO said in response to questions from this newspaper.

“Herd immunity also provides the best protection for the most vulnerable members of our community who can’t be vaccinated, including young infants (under six months of age), unvaccinated pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems.”

WHO reiterated that measles was caused by a highly infectious virus that spread easily from person to person through the air – via breathing, coughing and sneezing and it could be prevented with a vaccine.

“Vaccination provides the best and safest protection against measles. If anyone is unsure of their immunization status or their child’s, they should speak with their healthcare provider today.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services had earlier revealed two confirmed cases and two suspected cases of measles were reported at Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi.

“Three of the cases have recovered or are recovering at home, and one is currently admitted in hospital,” the Ministry stated.

AT A GLANCE

Measles Transmission

Measles is a highly infectious airborne viral disease that spreads easily through the air through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. You are at risk of getting measles if you breath the same air as someone with the disease and you are not immune. You are not immune if you have not been vaccinated, or you have never had the disease.

Prevention

A safe and effective vaccine exists for measles. Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine – starting from 12 months of age. Fiji’s immunisation coverage for children is good, and the Ministry also conducted a supplemental campaign in 2017 for all one to 10 year olds.

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