FIVE THOUSAND Irish babies born in 2018 were not vaccinated against measles.
That’s according to figures supplied to the Irish Mirror by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation highlighting the growing number of parents rejecting traditional vaccines.
More alarmingly still, a total of 76 life-threatening cases of the viral illness were reported in Ireland over the course of 2018.
These increases come against a backdrop of increasing opposition to vaccines, with so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ arguing that these injections can have adverse side effects and result in other illnesses.
The Corrs’ musician Jim Corr is among the most notable Irish celebrities to support this cause.
Around 92% of babies born in Ireland last year had their first measles vaccine, but 8% went unvaccinated, in what represents a small decrease on the previous year.
Despite Measles vaccination rates in Ireland hitting a high of 93% in the years 2013 to 2015, they have never reached the target levels of 95% or above.
Most common among children aged one to four, there were an estimated 350,000 measles cases around the world in 2018, which is more than double the number seen in 2017.
Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive has expressed concern over the figures.
“The HSE is actively working with the Department of Health to combat this issue. Minister Harris plans to establish a Vaccination Alliance to present the facts about immunisation,” a spokesperson told the Irish Mirror.
“If vaccine rates fall in Ireland then the diseases that have become very rare due to vaccination may recur.
“High coverage of vaccines are really important to prevent this spread and therefore protect individuals and also those who are too young to be vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
“In particular people should ensure they are fully immunised before travelling abroad especially for measles with the MMR vaccine.”