There are too many unvaccinated children and adults in Norway. Finnmark, Telemark and Vestfold received the lowest figures for vaccinated persons from the statistical register of Public Health.
‘Everyone who lives in Norway must really have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. To prevent an outbreak of measles, we would like to see coverage of over 95% of citizens vaccinated’, said Jann Storsæter, head physician at the Vaccine Department of Public Health (FHI).
The freshest statistics from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) showed record vaccination coverage among two year olds in 2016. Conversely, the ratio among the 16 year olds was only 91%, and the figures plunged below 90% in Finnmark, Telemark and Vestfold.
‘It is not necessarily a very serious situation, but we can’t be satisfied with the result when we see small holes in the net’, said Storsæter.
The senior doctor noted that measles may happen everywhere in the world, and that the disease occurs in many countries that Norwegians travel to.
In January this year, around 500 cases of measles were reported in Europe. In Norway, there was an outbreak of measles in 2011, but both before and after that year, the number of infections has been between five and ten cases per year.
‘We have enough of this vaccine in Norway, and people should be encouraged to take it. Several countries have had vaccination campaigns aimed at young adults because it happens that people simply forget to take the second dose of MMR’, said Jann Storsæter.
The MMR vaccine is free and you do not get any more adverse effects from vaccinating an extra time, according to the senior doctor.
‘If you are unsure whether you have taken the vaccine, it is not a hassle to take it one extra time’, he said.
However, it is not certain why the figures for the MMR vaccination in Finnmark, Telemark and Vestfold are as low as statistics show.
All MMR vaccines given are notifiable to SYSVAK. Each of the counties report technical problems by electronic transmission of vaccination messages from the separate municipalities to SYSVAK.
The real numbers of vaccination coverage locally could thus be higher than the statistics given to NIPH actually show.
‘It is difficult to say for certain about the causes of Finnmark coming a little lower, statistically, than other counties.
It may be due to deficiencies in the quality of the data. Another possible reason may be that there has been quite a lot of movement in the settlement pattern in Finnmark in recent years, with a great deal of immigration into the region from outside’, said the county medical examiner in Finnmark, Eivind Merok.
Source: nrk.no / Norway Today