Gauteng measles outbreak could hit 20% of young children not vaccinated

The Democratic Alliance is concerned that the four detected measles cases in Gauteng could lead to a wider outbreak amongst approximately 20% of young children who are not vaccinated.

The measles vaccine is supposed to be given to all children in doses given at six and nine months.

But figures from the Gauteng Health Department show that measles second dose vaccination rates have dropped in the last few years to about 80%. It used to be close to 100% but declined even before the disruption caused by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Measles is highly contagious and could lead to serious complications and even death in young child who are immunocompromised and malnourished.

According to the World Health Organisation, two or more cases in a single district are regarded as an outbreak. The reported cases so far are three in Tshwane, and one case in the West Rand.

The DA urges all parents to keep up to date with all child vaccines which are available free of charge at public clinics.

The Gauteng Health Department needs to take special measures to reverse the slippage in vaccine coverage for children.