Vicar Victoria spent a month in quarantine recently. She came into contact with an outbreak of measles in adults which can be serious.
Public Health England told the Vicar who looks after Ampfield, Chilworth and North Baddesley to limit her contacts to protect the community. Measles shouldn’t be a problem today. When enough people are immunised the problem goes away. That’s why it is important for children to have both doses of the MMR vaccine.
Get immunised: protect the herd
When enough people are immunised infections can’t spread because of an effect called ‘herd immunity’. Measles is very good at infecting people. This means that the rate of immunisation needs to be very close to 100%. You can see some animations explaining the effect here. MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine which protects against three illnesses. Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Full protection is achieved with two doses. If you aren’t sure whether a child you look after has had both doses, NHS advice is to discuss this with your GP. MMR is safe and does not cause any other disease or condition.
Seasonal influenza and issues with getting immunised
In North Baddesley we hear that the flu vaccine has been hard to get hold of this year. We asked the CCG who run all primary healthcare locally about this. They said:
“There is no shortage of the childhood nasal spray vaccine. However, there may be some practices that experience a short delay with some batches of the vaccine they have available for planned clinics.”… The important thing is that 2 and 3-year-olds and children under 18 with underlying health conditions are vaccinated before the flu virus starts circulating from December onwards.
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Seeking the common good
Vicar Victoria’s experience brought home to us how vulnerable our communities are. Vaccination is a common good for everyone. Seeking the common good, or ‘common weal’ as it sometimes know has been a core part of the work of the church since the earliest days. It’s a privilege to to continue to the tradition today.
Vaccine hesitancy is a global threat to health
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared vaccine hesitancy, including complacency and lack of confidence and convenience, one of ten threats to global health in 2019. Vaccines do not cause the diseases they immunise against. Contrary to social media myths they don’t cause any other diseases or conditions either.
In the European WHO region 90,000 cases of measles have been recorded in the first half of 2019. Dr Tedros Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “After many years of progress, we are at a critical turning point. Measles is resurging, and 1 in 10 children continues to miss out on essential childhood vaccines. We can and must get back on track. We will only do this by ensuring everyone can benefit from the power of vaccines – and if governments and partners invest in immunisation as a right for all, and a social good.