Based on WHO recommendations for routine vaccination and implementation of Immunization campaigns, Ministry of Health (MOH) in the UAE, has launched a nation-wide immunization campaign to eradicate measles from the country. As part of this massive campaign MOH has proposed mandatory measles vaccination in UAE for all school going children. MMR vaccine will be offered free of cost in the respective schools of the children. The campaign targets all people from the age of 1 year to 18 years. One dose of MMR vaccine will be given by injection, regardless of prior vaccination status or Measles disease history.
Most of the schools in the UAE have already communicated this to parents with the proposed immunization campaign starting from 1st November 2015 onwards. Parents have been asked to sign a consent form for vaccination. Only those who have a documented medical contradiction to MMR vaccine will be allowed to skip the vaccination, as mentioned in the consent form.
The mandatory measles vaccination in UAE has evoked mixed reactions from parents, with some parents not keen on getting their children vaccinated again. Although there is some confusion existing over the mandatory status of the vaccination, some schools are accepting agree or not-agree forms from parents. Parents whose children have already received 2 doses of MMR vaccine may decline by signing the not-agree form and send it to school.
What is MMR vaccine?
Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine, commonly known as MMR is an injection that immunizes individuals against three common viral infections – measles, mumps and rubella. These are contagious infections and like most viral infections, can spread from person to person through air from coughing or sneezing. Measles usually affects babies and infants but even older children and adults are at risk if they are not fully immunized.
MMR vaccine is usually given to infants in 2 doses. As per the UAE immunization schedule, the first MMR shot is given at 15 months of age, followed by a second one at 6 years of age. The vaccine can also be given to older children and adults if they missed the immunization at a younger age.
The Abu Dhabi and Dubai Health Authorities have called for the community to contribute to the success of the National Measles Campaign to help eliminate the disease from the UAE.
If parents have any questions or concerns about the National immunization campaign, they can contact DHA on 800 342 or the MOH helpline on 800 11111.