'It was traumatic': UK parents urge others to vaccinate their children amid rising measles cases

June 6, 2018 picture, a child gets a dose of vaccine in Chitila, Romania. An outbreak of measles has killed dozens of infants and children in Romania, with 200 new cases repor
June 6, 2018 picture, a child gets a dose of vaccine in Chitila, Romania. An outbreak of measles has killed dozens of infants and children in Romania, with 200 new cases repor Copyright Olimpiu Gheorghiu/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Olimpiu Gheorghiu/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Roselyne Min with AP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Global measles cases could double in a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).


A British couple in England’s West Midlands almost lost their child last Christmas when their baby, Ezra, contracted measles.

Ezra developed a high temperature and rashes appeared on his body.

"It was quite traumatic," said Ezra’s Mother Davina Barrett.

"The rash started off on his torso and spread throughout his whole body and that's when we knew something was wrong and it was more than a cough and cold. So we took him to A&E [the emergency department]," Barrett added.

Ezra was too young to get the measles vaccine, but his older brother Noah had had his first dose of it.

Measles outbreaks increasing

At the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) in Barcelona, doctors have been told that measles should be controlled.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that there are increasing numbers of measles outbreaks, with the expectation that global measles cases could almost double in a year.

Measles is a highly infectious disease with one person able to infect 15 without direct contact.

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) recommends children have the first dose of the vaccine as a one-year-old and the second dose between three and a half years and five years old.

Ezra's parents want to urge all parents to ensure their children are vaccinated, not just for themselves, but to protect the most vulnerable.

"They had been together and Noah didn't pick anything up and it is a simple vaccination to get," said Ezra’s father Karl Barrett.

There have been 191 confirmed measles cases between March 18 and April 18, according to UK government figures.

95% target for vaccination

For children like Ezra to be protected, many more people need to ensure their children are vaccinated.

"If you are protected, there are folks that can't be protected and you actually help them out by being vaccinated. So very young children that aren't eligible yet are protected because their siblings and parents and grandparents and neighbours are protected," Dr Patrick O’Connor in the Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals (IVB) at World Health Organization (WHO), said.

To achieve herd immunity and stop the spread of measles, 95 per cent of the population needs to have two doses of the vaccine.

The global rate currently stands at 83 per cent, which according to O’Connor, is too low.

"We know that 86 per cent was not good enough globally to prevent large outbreaks in [2018 and 2019] and 83 per cent is not going to be enough to actually stop large outbreaks this year or next year. And so we need to do extra," said O’Connor.

In 2018, more than 140,000 people died worldwide from measles, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).


Many surveillance measures were diverted to tackle the problem of COVID-19, but O’Connor believes it's essential to stop the acceleration of cases globally.

"These disruptions in health care and the sort of disruptions of vaccination services within that health care system have really set us up for high risk and more cases," he said.

Experts say that it’s ideal to get the vaccine young, but if you haven't had the two jabs, you should get them whatever your age.

"If you've missed the dose, you should get the dose and so, you could be 20 years old or 30 years old or six years old. I think the point is that we really want to make sure that we're protecting everyone".

Video editor • Roselyne Min

Share this articleComments

You might also like