Doha, October 15 (QNA)
Ministry of Public Heath (MOPH) has affirmed that the vaccine used against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), also known as (MMR) is safe, effective and gives long-term protection, as it has been approved and used worldwide for more than 40 years. The MOPH’s statement urged citizens and residents to not pay attention to rumors and to seek health information from official sources in the Ministry of Public Health.
Regarding the “rumor” circulated on the social media on connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, the statement explained that the vaccine is “safe and effective”. It added that extensive studies have proven that there is no link between MMR and autism and that most of these rumors are based on an incorrect study that was conducted by one of the doctors in 1998 and was refuted ever since. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as we as the UK Academy of Medical Sciences announced that there is no connection between MMR or any of its components and autism.
It says that WHO statistics show that the number of deaths from measles have fallen by 79%; from nearly 550 thousand deaths recorded in 2000 to 114.9 thousand in 2014. MOPH said that vaccine to be used in the MMR national immunization campaign from October 17 through November 14, is licensed for use in the State of Qatar and has been approved by the National Advisory Committee for immunization in the state. The vaccine is also certified by the World Health Organization (WWHO), the U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the GCC unified procurement specifications for medicines and vaccines, the statement says.
The statement assured that the MMR vaccine does not contain the aluminum or lead, pointing that it is used in the immunization campaigns in the GCC states.
MOPH says in the statement that the National MMR vaccination campaign was planned and prepared for on basis of the WHO recommendations following the measles cases registered in Qatar – 18 cases in 2015 and 22 cases in the past few months – within the campaign targeted age group 1 to 13 years.
The ministry stressed the importance of taking the MMR booster dose to prevent the diseases noting that about 3 to 5 % of the children do not develop sufficient immunity against the diseases after the first or the second dose.
The statement affirmed that the Ministry of Public Health follows the best international standards to ensure the health and safety of Qatar’s citizens and residents, adding that the State of Qatar spares no effort for ensuring the preservation of lives and the protection of children and ensuring that the community is healthy and free of infectious diseases and epidemics.
It explained that vaccination is one of the best and most important ways to prevent infectious diseases, adding that the national program of immunization has contributed during the past years to the elimination of a number of infectious diseases in the State of Qatar, including smallpox, polio, neonatal tetanus, tetanus and diphtheria. According to the WHO, the national MMR program is considered to be the best in the region, the statement said.
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) reaffirmed its commitment to providing safe and effective vaccines to all targeted age groups.
The MOPH pointed that the National Immunization Program was established in 1979 and the MMR was introduced to the national immunization schedule in 1992. It added that, Qatar has achieved and over 95% immunization coverage, which has significantly contributed to reducing the rates of morbidity and mortality due to disease that can be prevented by immunization.
In the context of ensuring the safety of vaccines, MOPH has established a program to follow-up the side effects of the vaccines, the statement said adding that the program is run by an independent national technical advisory committee of immunization.
The statement pointed that the MMR vaccine contains devitalized viruses with minimized ability to morbidity in order to stimulate the human immune system to build its immunity. It added that the presence of more than one devitalized virus in the vaccine leads to the creation of a strong but not sufficient immunity, that is the reason for a second and a booster doses in different stages of age.
The National Immunization Campaign against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) aims to eliminate these diseases by 2020 as detailed in the National Health Strategy as well as the plan Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) of World Health Organization.
it added that the ministry is ready to receive any inquiries about the campaign on the hot lines No. 66740948 for Arabic language, and No 66740951 for English language, and through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.