New NI measles case greatly worrying, says Donnelly, encouraging public to make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations

Alliance Health spokesperson Danny Donnelly MLA has said, after speaking yesterday (19 February) in the Assembly about the rise in measles cases across the rest of the UK, Ireland, and Europe, that it’s greatly worrying Northern Ireland has recorded its first measles case in seven years.

He has also encouraged anyone who may be behind on their MMR vaccines to avail of the current catch-up vaccination services.

It comes after Northern Ireland’s Deputy Chief Medical officer, Dr Lourda Geoghegan, previously stated it would be likely that we’d see new cases in Northern Ireland as the disease is on the rise elsewhere in Great Britain and Ireland in recent weeks.

The East Antrim MLA has said: “Sadly, the first case of measles recorded in Northern Ireland in seven years has been announced today. This is a greatly worrying development, and I hope the patient recovers soon.

“However, measles is not merely a minor childhood illness. It's a serious condition that can have serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures. It can even, in the worst cases, be fatal, as we tragically saw in the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.

“Almost 89% of children in Northern Ireland have received their first MMR jab, but fewer return for the second dose with only 85% of children fully vaccinated by five years old. The World Health Organisation recommends a 95% vaccination rate to prevent outbreak and we are clearly well below that.

“Vaccination is the only way to protect children from this potentially dangerous disease. It’s very welcome to see a catch-up vaccination campaign by the Public Health Agency already underway across Northern Ireland, and I’d strongly encourage anyone eligible who may be behind on their vaccinations to avail of the service. More information about times and locations of clinics can be found on Trust websites.

“Vaccination saves lives and I would implore everyone across NI to make sure that our children and young people are fully protected against this dangerous disease.”