Health minister Adalberto Campos Ferreira has reiterated calls to “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate” in the wake of a health department report that claims that the ‘group protection’ previously found in Portugal against the Measles virus “no longer exists”.
Campos Ferreira played down the ‘scare factor’ of the report, however, saying that as long as parents comply with the national vaccination programme their children should have no problems.
Indeed, on closer inspection of news stories circulating today, the percentage of ‘group protection’ has only fallen from 95.2% to 94.2%.
According to the national serological inquiry 2015-2016, 95% is the ‘cut off’ point at which ‘group protection’ must be found lacking.
In the various age groups tested, immunity was lowest (77.9%) in teens aged 15-19 and still below what is considered ‘safe’ in the 15 to 29 year age group (90%).
Vaccination against the Measles virus has been fraught with controversy due to its ‘triple-combo’ nature (it is included in a shot designed to immunise also against mumps and Rubella, and has resulted in a movement that advises parents against vaccinations altogether).
Despite numerous campaigns, governments still have problems encouraging citizens to vaccinate children, with some resorting to barring toddlers from playschools unless their shots are up to date.
In Portugal, although vaccinations are required in all pre-school nurseries and schools, parental ‘opt out’ declarations are still accepted.