The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is issuing a measles health alert for the Solomon Islands following outbreak of measles in Fiji and new cases being reported in many parts of the world.
The alert must be taken seriously as the borders are now open and international flights resume. Furthermore, the COVID-19 response and associated measures in the past two years have impacted both roll out and uptake of the measles vaccines. Measles vaccination coverage is currently as low as 39.9 percent fully vaccinated (those who received two complete doses) in 2021, way below the ideal 95 percent coverage and the safe level of protection for our communities.
This puts us at greater risk of measles outbreaks in communities increasing risks to our children’s health and lives. Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus spreads quickly through the air through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. The signs and symptoms of measles are high fever, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks in the initial stage. A rash erupts after 3- 5 days, usually on the face and upper neck, and spreads to hands and feet, lasting for five to six days.
Take your child to the hospital or clinic if they develop any of these symptoms. Measles can cause several severe complications, including pneumonia and deaths among children.
Measles can be very dangerous in all age groups, but unvaccinated children below 5 years and adults, pregnant women, and persons with compromised immune systems can have serious complications and even die from measles.
Parents and guardians are therefore strongly urged to review their baby’s or children’s vaccination status as per their vaccination card and ensure they get their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination.
MR vaccines first does is usually given to children at 12 months (or 1 year) of age and second dose at 18 months (1 year 6 months). It can be given at any age after this IF they have missed their due date.
If your child has missed their vaccination, please take them to the nearest clinic to have them vaccinated as soon as possible.
If as an adult, you have already received two doses of a measles vaccine, you do not need to get another shot. If you have only received one dose, you are encouraged to get a second dose as soon as possible.
Do not wait; get it done now.