Measles now the new scourge

by | Mar 5, 2023 | NATIONAL, NEWS | 0 comments

According to Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, 84 percent of measles cases reported were among children under the age of seven years and while there were 128 cases in 2021, last year witnessed an increase to 206 cases.

Measles is one of the 13 diseases covered by the National Immunization Programme (NIP) which was established to protect children from major diseases but during the pandemic it saw a loss of interest in vaccinations except for the Covid 19 jabs.

A possible reason for the increase in measles cases, which is nearly exclusively passed from human to human (the only known natural reservoir of the virus) could be the spillover effect of the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Health infers that at the height of the pandemic, particularly when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was in effect, many parents failed to bring their children for jabs under the NIP which caused measles cases to increase.

Under the NIP schedule, the measles vaccine, which is given together in a single injection with mumps and rubella (hence known as the MMR shot), targets children aged from nine months (first dose) to 12 months (second dose).

The Health Ministry is now targeting those who missed their vaccination shots including the MMR and all the children in the target group who were previously vaccinated will also be given another shot for adequate immunity to fight measles.