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A 62-year-old German man has received 217 vaccinations within 29 months for the purpose of improving his immunity against COVID.

Measles Eradication Requires Community-Wide Vaccination

In order to prevent measles outbreaks and prevent it from becoming a public health threat, several physicians have recommended the implementation of community-wide vaccination.

A Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at the Epe General Hospital, Epe, Lagos State, Dr. Cynthia Okafor said measles can affect anyone but mostly children, which is the reason why vaccination should be made a priority.

Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease caused by a virus that can lead to severe complications and death, hence the need for vaccination.

According to her, measles infects the respiratory tract of an infected person and then spreads throughout the body, insisting that vaccination is the only way of preventing humans from getting sick or spreading it to others.

“Measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases, with at least a 90 per cent secondary infection rate in susceptible domestic contacts.

“And despite being considered primarily a childhood illness, measles can affect people of all ages and it is marked by prodromal fever, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, and pathognomonic enanthem.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent one from coming down with measles or spreading it to other people. The vaccine is safe and helps your body fight off the virus.”

She further noted that routine measles vaccination combined with mass immunisation campaigns in areas like Borno and Kaduna states among others with high case rates are crucial for reducing measles deaths.

Okafor called on the government to make the vaccine available for all children in the country to reduce the number of deaths recorded during outbreaks.

She also urged parents to present their children for vaccination against measles and called on the government to ensure that the vaccines for exercise are readily available.

The WHO Technical Adviser on Measles and Rubella, Natasha Crowcroft said, “We in the measles world are extremely concerned.”

According to WHO, the measles vaccine has been in use for over six decades and costs less than US$ 1 per child, noting that the vaccine is also used in emergencies to stop outbreaks from spreading.

“The risk of measles outbreaks is particularly high amongst refugees, who should be vaccinated as soon as possible. Combining vaccines slightly increases the cost but allows for shared delivery and administration costs and importantly, adds the benefit of protection against rubella, the most common vaccine-preventable infection that can infect babies in the womb.

“In 2022, 74% of children received both doses of the measles vaccine, and about 83% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended to ensure immunity and prevent outbreaks, as not all children develop immunity from the first dose.

“Approximately 22 million infants missed at least one dose of measles vaccine through routine immunisation in 2022,” WHO added.

Also speaking on the essence of vaccination, a Public Health Physician at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State, Dr. Ovie Efekodo, said over 93 per cent of people who get the first dose develop immunity to measles, while with the second dose, about 97 per cent of people are protected.

“The WHO recommended the first dose of the vaccine for children between the ages of 12 months and 15 months. The second one should be taken before your child starts school as it offers great protection.

“As the virus affects the immune system, it can lead to serious complications long after measles is gone. This is what makes the virus so deadly because it leaves a child open to other diseases, specifically diarrhoeal.”