A committee of experts in infectious diseases suggested the Health Ministry offer children the second dose of the measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine at two years instead of in first grade, in order to battle the disease and help prevent the next outbreak, Israel Hayom reported.
Meanwhile, the experts decided to continue offering the first dose of the immunization at the age of one year, and not push it up to nine months. However, according to Israel Hayom, implementing the suggestion will take several years, due to logistic challenges which do not allow its implementation. These challenges include a need for additional nurses and additional funds to allow the Tipat Chalav “mother and child” clinics to purchase more doses of the vaccine. In addition, implementation depends on the approval of the Health Ministry management.
Members of the committee noted that giving an additional dose of the vaccine at the Tipat Chalav clinics requires additional staff. They also noted that for a period of several years, the second dose will need to be offered both at two years, by the clinics, and at six years, in schools. During these period, there will be a need for an additional temporary budget.
Prof. Shmuel Rishpon, who chairs the committee on vaccinations, and serves as a Health Ministry doctor in Haifa, said: “All members of the committee reiterated their statements that the most important step in measles prevention is to vaccinated as many people as possible with the first dose, given at a year. The Health Ministry must do everything possible to achieve this goal. Moving the second dose of the vaccine up to two years will significantly reduce the number of children ages 2-6 who are at risk of contracting measles, as well as the morbidity of that population. In most developed countries, the second dose is given before first grade.”
Since February, Israel has seen 787 documented cases of measles. However, experts believe that there is severe under-reporting.