The measles epidemic facing Romania is the effect of a dropping vaccination rate in Romania over the last ten years, reads a national report on vaccination.
The measles epidemic in Romania has killed 30 people and infected as many as 8,000 people, prompting the World Health Organization to include Romania on a list of five countries that together account for 80% of the total number of measles infections reported worldwide.
According to Government sources, over 220 thousand children have not yet been given the MMR vaccine. Prime Minister Mihai Tudose has called on the Health Ministry to draft a detailed report on vaccination. The Prime Minister also proposed that the directors and deputies of Public Healthcare Agencies in five counties be removed from office due to the poor management of the anti-measles vaccination campaign.
More precisely, the vaccination rate in these counties has fallen below 50%, while the nationwide target is 95%. According to the Prime Minister, parents who refused to inoculate their children, fearing the potential side-effects, have also fuelled the present crisis. Prime Minister Tudose argues that state institutions, including Child’s Protection, should have a say in this matter.
Mihai Tudose: “From my point of view, any parent who refuses to vaccinate his children is endangering their lives. Can he truly decide which child gets polio or measles, who lives or who dies? Other parents have their parental rights terminated for less. When a parent virtually sentences his child to death, I don’t know whether it’s still a matter of parental rights”.
According to the Health Ministry report, the measles epidemic has a high mortality rate of 4 fatalities in a thousand cases, double the figure postulated by health experts.
The crisis was generated by a continuous drop in the vaccinate rate in the last ten years. And it was not just the parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children that triggered it, but also the shortage of anti-measles shots. Physician Sandra Alexiu, the vice-president of the National Society of Family Physicians, says that a high inoculation rate must rely on healthy vaccine supplies.
Sandra Alexiu: “Right now MMR supplies are good, but we still lack tetravalent, BCG vaccines, vaccines for pregnant women or tetanus toxoid vaccines. It would be easier for us to carry out our vaccination activity if he had enough supplies. We are currently working out personalized vaccination schemes for children who missed their shots due in their vaccination timetable caused by the shortage of vaccines”.
The Government is working on a draft law on vaccination, which they see as essential in the current context. Aimed at raising the awareness of authorities, doctors and parents alike with respect to the positive effects of vaccination, the law will be submitted to Parliament for debate.