The United Nations, the World Health Organization and Nepalese authorities have announced efforts to vaccinate some 500,000 children against measles amid last week’s earthquake that killed more than seven thousand people.
Claiming a measles epidemic could sweep through temporary makeshift villages erected in the wake of the earthquake, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, alongside Unicef and WHO workers, “scrambled medical teams to the most densely populated areas to start vaccinating under-fives against measles,” reports The Mirror.
In a statement Monday, Nepalese Unicef Representative Tomoo Hozumi said the squalid state of tent cities provides optimal conditions for the contagion to spread.
“Measles is very contagious and can potentially be deadly,” Hozumi said, adding that only one in 10 Nepalese children remain unvaccinated.
“We fear it could spread very quickly in the often crowded conditions in the improvised camps where many children are living.”
Hozumi said “teams will be sent to vaccinate children under the age of five in informal shelters in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, which are three of the most crowded districts in Kathmandu Valley,” according to The Star Online.
The crisis has evidently presented the perfect opportunity for Nepalese authorities to work on their promise of accelerating their vaccination services.
Last September, the Ministry of Health signed a statement endorsed by Unicef and WHO agreeing “to accelerate plans for measles and rubella control activities” by increasing immuniation activities.
While touting the vaccine’s efficacy, health authorities have suspiciously neglected to inform citizens of the various adverse side effects that can often accompany MMR immunizations, of which there have been 6,962 serious events documented as of December 14, 2014.
Merck’s MMR vaccine has caused the following adverse reactions, according to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database:
- lupus (autoimmune connective tissue disorder);
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (inflammation of the nerves);
- aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain);
- cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle);
- hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes (collapse/shock);
- sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE);
- ataxia (loss of ability to coordinate muscle movements);
- parathesia (numbness, burning, prickling, itching, tingling skins sensation indicating nerve irritation)
“Of these events 329 were deaths, with over half of the deaths occurring in children under three years of age,” reports the NVIC, while noting that “the numbers of vaccine-related injuries and deaths reported to VAERS may not reflect the true number of serious health problems that occur develop after MMR vaccination,” due to doctors and patients under-reporting the figures.