Following the loss of the UK’s measles free status, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stripped another 3 European countries of their eradication status. Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece have joined the UK in no longer being considered measles free.

Kate O’Brien of the WHO’s Immunization Department said that the 4 countries were stripped of their measles free status despite their “extremely high” vaccination availability, saying that “This is the alarm bell that is ringing around the world: being able to achieve high national coverage is not enough, it has to be achieved in every community, and every family for every child”.

Recently released figures from WHO show that in Europe during the first half of 2019 just under 90,000 cases were reported, already more than the number recorded for the whole of 2018 (84,462).

One of the main suspected contributors to the rise of measles in these countries is the falling rates of vaccinations caused by the spread of misinformation around the measles vaccination and its safety, WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently told how “Misinformation about vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread”.

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