The Workers’ Party has today (Tuesday) called for the introduction of a requirement that all children who use shared childcare and education schemes, including créches, play facilities, and schools, be required to produce evidence of MMR vaccination.

The call comes in the wake of the latest measles outbreak in Ireland, with several cases presenting in Dublin hospitals over the past days.

Responding to the news, Cllr. Éilis Ryan of the Workers’ Party said:
“Measles is not a minor disease. An outbreak in 2000 in Ireland led to three deaths – and the outbreak was directly linked to a downturn in vaccination rates because of quack anti-vaccination propoganda – later disproven entirely – from Andrew Wakefield.

“As a result of that downturn, Ireland has a high proportion of unvaccinated teenagers and young adults – around 15% according to the HSE. This means our herd immunity is extremely weak, exposing people who cannot be vaccinated due to illness, and babies not yet vaccinated.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:
“The rate of young children being vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, has hovered at about 92% for some time. An immunisation rate of below 95% is not sufficient to provide safety to that minority of people who – because of age or illness – cannot be vaccinated. We need to work towards achieving this.”

The Workers’ Party councillor concluded:
“For a vaccination as long standing and well-established as MMR, it is sensible that any child wishing to attend an educational institution with other children should have to be vaccinated.

“In a democratic society, individual choice is always limited in cases where our choices have negative repercussions for others – particularly for the vulnerable. Vaccination is exactly such a case, and this is why it is already mandatory in many other western democracies.”