Austria on verge of placing millions of unvaccinated people in lockdown

Country’s public health minister says the best way to contain measles and other diseases is to limit any possible exposure Austria on verge of placing millions of unvaccinated people in lockdown Austria is on…

Austria on verge of placing millions of unvaccinated people in lockdown

Country’s public health minister says the best way to contain measles and other diseases is to limit any possible exposure

Austria on verge of placing millions of unvaccinated people in lockdown

Austria is on the verge of placing millions of people on lockdown with a mass vaccination drive to try to contain a number of outbreaks of potentially deadly measles.

Zoe Kranz, the public health minister, said that an Austrian ministry of health estimate suggested that there were 5.7 million vulnerable people: 13% of the population aged between seven and 35 years.

The announcement comes after hundreds of cases of measles had been recorded in recent months, with nearly 800 cases reported in April alone.

“Despite catching a break in May, we are still in a phase of epidemic,” Kranz said. “We need to reach this peak in August. Then, after we have brought cases down to zero, it will be a matter of perhaps a week or 10 days, and then we go back to zero.”

Measles was largely eradicated worldwide in 2000 but the disease has returned with a vengeance as the world struggles to reach a global reduction in unvaccinated children by the UN’s target of 95% by 2018.

Rising anti-vaccination sentiment has encouraged a rise in measles cases, with Britain thought to have its highest level of unvaccinated children since 1921.

Among children aged five and under, immunisation coverage in the UK is 87.4%, compared with 98.9% in 2006.

Speaking about the vaccination drive on Saturday, Kranz said: “What is important here is to bring all of the vaccinations down to 100% during this coming weekend, meaning all 11 highly contagious vaccines.”

Kranz added that the “best way to contain the cases is to limit any possible exposure to the public”. “We have already started. A specific campaign has been planned and we have already started advertising these advertisements,” she said.

Kranz said that 8,000 neonatal units, which take in the sickest patients, would provide special care for all patients at risk, especially the very young.

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