II am seven months pregnant and am very concerned about the outbreak of measles in Ireland recently. I moved her recently from Australia and am amazed by the amount of people who don’t seem to vaccinate their children. I had all my bloods done at the hospital so assume that my
MMR is up to date, but what happens after my baby is born? When will they receive their measles vaccination? Do they need more than one for immunity?
Do I have to keep them indoors until they have full immunity? N recent weeks, seven cases of measles have been reported in north Dublin and Meath. This is very concerning, as measles is a vaccine-preventable illness. Vaccination is offered free to all children. In the USA in 2015 an infection originated in Disneyland California that ultimately caused 170 infections spreading to six states. All the cases here and in the USA occurred in children who had not been vaccinated.
In medicine we talk about herd immunity. This refers to the percentage of people that need to be vaccinated in order to contain the spread of infectious diseases. Measles is highly contagious and a herd immunity of 95pc is considered ideal. In Ireland in 2017 so far we have had a 92pc uptake of the measles vaccine. This is not bad, but we can do better.
There will always be certain people who cannot be vaccinated due to illness, age or other conditions, but unfortunately there are also people who choose not to vaccinate their children. Thankfully we don’t see too many cases of vaccine-preventable illness anymore, but the flip side of that is that due to this people forget how serious these illnesses can be.
One in four people infected with measles will require hospitalisation. Those under five and over 20 are most at risk of complications. In 2016, there were 89,780 measles-related deaths globally. The evidence for vaccination is very strong. There has been an 84pc drop in death from measles since 2000 with increasing vaccination uptake. All pregnant mothers in Ireland are checked for immunity to measles. As your immunity hasn’t been discussed, do check this at your next appointment.
If you are immune then your immunity does pass to the baby through the placenta. These IgG antibodies will protect your baby during pregnancy and after birth. This is called passive immunity. It is strongest in the first