Home » «People are afraid of getting vaccinated, after Covid cases are on the rise. But protection is mandatory”

«People are afraid of getting vaccinated, after Covid cases are on the rise. But protection is mandatory”

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«People are afraid of getting vaccinated, after Covid cases are on the rise.  But protection is mandatory”

Measles is causing fear again throughout Europe. In 2023, 2,361 cases were reported to the ECDC, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, over 74% in Romania. Between January and early February, the number of countries reporting measles cases increased, and seven deaths were reported in two countries: Romania (6) and Ireland (1). In Italy the main outbreak occurred in Tuscany, where 18 cases were recorded. The pandemic has caused delays and disruptions in mass vaccination campaigns against this and other diseases, making measles a global threat again.

Measles, alarm in Europe. Ecdc: 7 deaths since the beginning of the year. «Deaths in Romania and Ireland. Suboptimal vaccination coverage”

Professor Pregliasco, why this increase in cases?

«Already before Covid there had been an increase in cases, due to a decrease in vaccination coverage. The pandemic then stopped things, because the use of masks reduced the spread. Now that the situation has returned to normal, the opportunities for infections have resumed and the effects of this situation are being seen.”

Are people afraid of getting vaccinated?

«After Covid, there is certainly this risk. But it should be remembered that since 2017 the vaccine against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox has become mandatory. Measles is an extremely transmissible virus. Nine out of ten unvaccinated people become infected following contact with an infected person.

Fortunately, it is also almost entirely preventable with vaccination.

Who is most at risk?

«Measles is an extremely contagious disease that can cause serious complications, especially in children under 5 years of age, in pregnant women and in immunocompromised patients, also causing serious neurological forms. Between 30 and 100 deaths are recorded for every 100 thousand people involved. In some cases bacterial infections, pneumonia and encephalitis have developed”

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How is the situation in Italy?

«It’s certainly better in Italy than in other countries. Vaccination has held up here, but the risk is there, especially for young unvaccinated adults, because by increasing the presence of the disease throughout Europe, the virus is circulating. The outbreak in Tuscany demonstrates this.”

The importance of the vaccine

“No one should die from measles,” says Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC. “The increase in cases of measles, a highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease, is a clear reminder that all Member States should maximize efforts to achieve and maintain high vaccination coverage for all vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines represent a safe and effective way to reduce the health burden of infectious diseases and avoid unnecessary losses of human life”, “The trend of increasing measles cases across Europe is worrying”, says EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

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