Here is why you cannot get your baby vaccinated against measles

Photo credit: Pixabay, Katja Fuhlert

The recent measles outbreak in the Eindhoven region is worrying. Many parents want to have their baby vaccinated against measles.

The GGD Zuidoost-Brabant has been asked the question about measles vaccination at least 25 times a week, but only children older than fourteen months are vaccinated. This is because an earlier vaccination has less effect. “We are worried,” says mother Maaike Cohn.

Before the recent measles outbreak, almost no one asked for such an early vaccination. In the Eindhoven region, 28 infections have currently been reported. This mainly concerns unvaccinated children of around the age of five.

Children from the age of fourteen months receive a call for the measles vaccination. It concerns the MMR vaccination (mumps, measles and rubella). However, many parents now want to get their children vaccinated earlier. Maaike Cohn from Tilburg is one of them. She has a baby who is under fourteen months old and also speaks to many other parents who are concerned. They desperately want their children to be vaccinated earlier.

“We want to protect our children,” says Maaike. “We are not so much afraid of the measles itself, but of the meningitis that can develop as a result of the disease.” In some people, measles can lead to meningitis or pneumonia. According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), one in ten thousand people dies from it.

“You could say: that’s very low. But it will be your child. If you can protect your child, as a parent you want to do everything you can to prevent something like that,” says Maaike.

‘Less well protected’
The GGD says that these parents are always told ‘no’. The jabs will not be brought forward. According to a spokesperson, the limit of fourteen months was chosen because children are protected against the virus for as long as possible. If a child is vaccinated earlier, the child is less well protected against measles in the short and longer term. This is due to the immune system of babies.

“But less is not nothing,” says mother Maaike. “Then the children are still a bit protected. If there is an outbreak, it makes sense to vaccinate, doesn’t it?”

‘Not yet a necessity’
At the moment, according to the GGD, there is no need to vaccinate babies earlier. According to a spokesperson, this is only necessary in the event of a huge outbreak, because then there is a much higher risk of people becoming infected. The GGD cites the example of the major outbreak in 2013, in which about three thousand cases of measles were reported.

Currently, 28 people are infected with measles. “With the current figures, there is little chance that children will come into contact with the virus,” says the spokesperson. If an unvaccinated child has been in direct contact with someone who is infected, a vaccination can be offered earlier. “We’re keeping a close eye on it.”

Source: Omroep Brabant

For Eindhoven News: Muktha Kartik

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