Editorial: do not judge vaccination according to rumours

PHOTO: kidnurse.org

That a midwife happened to be among those infected by measles who afterwards came in contact with a total of about 40 colleagues and patients is bad coincidence indeed. Imagine the worries and tensions in the expecting mothers now called in to be examined. We wish them that all be well and result to analysis be swift in coming. 

The event will be food for thought for medical institutions and the parents who haven’t had their kids vaccinated according to state plan. Broadly, the coming again of diseased we thought we had conquered serves as reminder to all who travel a lot and especially to those that go to regions where dangerous diseases do occur. Estonia has several travel medicine receptions where doctors provide advice what to do and if vaccination is needed.  

By what we know till now, the midwife who fell ill didn’t really do anything wrong. Surely, however, a reminder for medical institutions to do their checks better. Earlier, Health Board had advised risk group people to let their blood be tested regarding antibodies that repel measles virus. Those advised to be vaccinated against measles, rubella and mumps (MMR) included medical workers and women planning pregnancy. However, the advice was adhered to by few: in last year and the year before that, the vaccine was administered to some 60 adults.

MMR is part of national vaccination plan prescribing that all children get it twice: at ages of 1 and 13. Even so, at end of last year Estonia had 6,601 children aged 2–14 who had not been MMR-vaccinated once – over 6 percent of the age group. As pointed out by health Board representative, for some reason lion’s share of such kids hail from Harju County.

Is this the spread of anti-vaccination mindset or carelessness? Viruses will not ask whether and via which internet portal chat it was that parents got confirmation to their opinions. If in doubt, why not visit Health Board at vaktsineeri.ee. Surely, whoever is shy of the vaccinations should ask their family doctors. Having heard the arguments and listened to one’s doctor, one can make an informed choice. It surely isn’t prudent to pass decisions affecting the health of one’s child based on rumours – even if spread over the Internet.

In the West, Estonia included, lots of infectious diseases have become a thing of the past due to the very vaccination. But this has served to make people unreasonably carefree. Worth remembering that people do travel all over the world and a dangerous disease my reach us from any corner of the globe.