Important Vaccinations For Children In Cork
The HSE and local healthcare professionals in Cork have urged parents to ensure that their children have had a measles vaccine, after two confirmed cases of measles in Dublin and suspected cases in Cork at the end of October.
Recently, local Blackpool GP and Fianna Fáil Councillor, Dr John Sheehan, was just one of the local healthcare professionals to remind us how important vaccinations are for our children, to help protect them against potentially fatal diseases.
We thought that it would be helpful to inform parents about why being fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is so important.
Why Measles Vaccinations Are Vital
You should have recently received an information letter about measles vaccinations from the national school your child attends. The Director of Public Health, Dr Deirdre Mulholland, recently said in the media, “measles can be a serious illness and is highly contagious. The best protection is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine”.
Measles is spread easily. It usually takes two to three weeks for a rash to develop from the time of exposure. People carrying the disease can become infectious from four days before a rash, until four days after the rash.
Those who have not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine are most at risk. Particularly at risk are babies under one year old, who are too young to be vaccinated, and children with weakened immune symptoms.
Symptoms of measles include:
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- High fever
- Red rash, starting on the head and spreading to the rest of the body
- Diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain
If you or your children show any signs of the symptoms of measles, you should stay at home, not go to school or work and phone a GP immediately.
For more information about measles, read the measles factsheets produced by the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
Diseases Vaccinations Prevent
Measles is just one of the diseases that the Primary Immunisation programme in Ireland is designed to prevent. The HSE programmes deliver vaccines for you and your family, which in addition to protecting individuals, also protect others in the community by reducing the spread of disease.
The HSE state on their website that side effects from vaccines are very rare.
The Primary Immunisation programme in Ireland provides a vaccine for the following potentially fatal diseases:
Diphtheria – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person or carrier. Symptoms and effects are a sore throat and severe breathing difficulties.
Haemophilius Influenzae B (Hib) – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain), epiglottis (swelling in the throat that causes choking), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and osteomyelitis (bone infection).
Hepatitis B – contagious virus that is spread by contact with bodily fluids or the blood of an infected person. Causes liver disease. Children have a higher risk of having the disease for life.
Measles – highly contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes fever, a cough and a rash.
Meningococcal C (MenC) – contagious bacteria spread by saliva or close contact with an infected person or carrier. Causes meningitis or septicaemia, or both.
Mumps – contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes swollen neck glands and fever.
Pertussis (Whopping Cough) – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes a severe cough and vomiting. Can last up to three months.
Pneumococcal disease – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person or carrier. Causes invasive disease such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.
Polio – a contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person or their faeces (poo). Polio causes fever, headaches and vomiting. It can progress to paralysis.
Rubella (German Measles) – a contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes a rash, fever and swollen glands. It can also lead to birth defects if a mother contracts rubella in early pregnancy.
Tetanus – bacteria from soil which release a toxin. Causes painful muscle spasms, convulsions and lockjaw.
Tuberculosis (TB) – contagious bacteria infecting the lungs and spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes sweating, coughing, weight loss and tiredness. TB can infect the brain or other body parts but that type of TB is not contagious.
See the HSE website for more details on the diseases vaccines prevent, as listed above.
What To Do Next
If you are concerned that you or your family haven’t been fully vaccinated, or want to find out more about the vaccinations available, you should contact your GP. If your child has missed a vaccination at school, it’s not too late and the vaccines will still work if your child has them.
We would also be happy to help you with further advice. Pop into your local Irwin’s pharmacy in Cork, or give us a call on the numbers at the top of this page, we’d be happy to provide advice on what to do next.