Measles and MMR vaccines
Make sure your children are up to date with their MMR vaccines before travelling abroad this summer.
The HSE is urging parents to make sure children are up to date with their MMR vaccines before travelling outside of Ireland this summer. The MMR vaccine, which is safe and effective, protects against measles cases and outbreaks. Learn more about the MMR vaccines for your child.
Measles cases are rising internationally
Measles cases are rising internationally. There have been more cases reported in Europe so far this year than were reported in the whole of 2022. There is an ongoing measles outbreak in Austria and measles cases have been reported in the UK, Germany, Hungary and Sweden. Outside Europe, there have been recent outbreaks reported in many countries including South Africa, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have warned about the risk of measles in children as a result of low MMR vaccine following the pandemic.
The MMR vaccine is your child's best protection against measles
Measles is highly infectious and can be an acute and serious infection. It causes a rash illness, with cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and high fever. Complications of measles include ear infections, pneumonia, febrile seizures and less commonly encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and even death.
The only protection against measles is vaccination. Two doses of MMR vaccine are needed and if a child is not fully protected then MMR vaccines can be obtained from your GP or travel health clinic.
Uptake of the MMR vaccine in Ireland is below recommended rates
Measles is a notifiable disease in Ireland. In recent years, most cases of measles reported in Ireland are imported or import related cases. Measles is more common in countries where uptake of measles vaccine is below recommended levels.
A booster dose is offered by HSE school vaccination teams when children are in Junior Infants. If a child has missed their MMR vaccines it’s not too late to get protected.
Uptake rates of MMR vaccine in Ireland are currently well below the rates recommended by WHO. Most recently available information on the uptake of the second dose of MMR in Ireland for children in the 2020/2021 school year was 88%. This is down from 91% reported for the 2019/2020 school year. Both of these uptake rates are below the WHO recommended 95% uptake rates to stop measles transmission and indicate gaps in immunity.
Check your child's vaccination records before travelling abroad this summer
When preparing to travel overseas it’s a good time to check your vaccination records and make sure that your family has had the recommended number of MMR vaccines. Parents should enjoy their time abroad but please don’t get ill with measles or bring it home.
Health and care professionals are a trusted source of vaccine information
Health and care professionals are a trusted source of information about vaccines for parents and guardians. It is important to remind parents to check their child's vaccination records and encourage your patients to make sure themselves and their family are up to date with their MMR vaccines.
Download our communications toolkit about measles and the MMR vaccine to support your work in promoting MMR vaccine uptake with your patients and networks.
Dr Éamonn O'Moore on the importance of the MMR vaccine
Watch this video from Dr Éamonn O’Moore, Director for HSE National Health Protection, on why it is important children are fully vaccinated against measles before travelling abroad this summer.
An Dr Evelyn Fennelly ag caint faoin tábhacht a bhaineann leis an vascaín MMR
Féach ar an bhfíseán seo: an Dr Evelyn Fennelly, Oifigeach Leighis Sinsearach, Oifig Náisiúnta Imdhíonta FSS,ag caint faoin gcúis a bhfuil sé tábhachtach go bhfuil do pháiste cosanta go hiomlán ar an mbruitíneach sula dtéánn tú agus do chlann thar lear.
This page was updated on 1 June 2023