Article by
Dani Reiter

London’s Hackney and Haringey Measles Outbreaks Continue

London’s MMR vaccination is far below herd immunity goals

london city people on bridge

According to The Times of Israel, significant reductions in vaccinations against measles in five-year-olds were recorded in Hackney and Haringey, the north London, England areas with the largest Orthodox populations.

This news report on September 3rd, said ‘while 87.2 percent of five-year-olds in England have received the 2-doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, only 74 percent of children in Haringey are completed immunized, and just 67 percent have received the 2-doses of MMR vaccine in Hackney.

Previously, a 2013 study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said ‘vaccination coverage within this community (Hackney) is lower than in the general population of London, causing low-herd immunity and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.’

Both the CDC and the UK Nation Health Service (NHS) say populations need to have immunization levels of at least 95 percent to be protected, sometimes known as ‘herd-immunity.’

Herd-immunity describes how a population is protected from a disease after vaccination by stopping the germ responsible for the infection being transmitted between people. In this way, even people who cannot be vaccinated can be protected, says the University of Oxford. 

As such, the NHS liaised with local healthcare providers to raise awareness that measles was circulating, distributing leaflets in English and Yiddish during 2018.

According to the New York Times in April 2019, the current measles outbreaks in London and New York City may be related to Breslov Hasidic Jews visiting the Ukrainian city of Uman in 2018. London's outbreak is believed to be related to numerous pilgrims returning from Israel and Ukraine with the measles virus. 

Ukraine’s measles outbreak began in 2017 and continues unabated today, with over 55,000 measles cases reported during 2019.

In late September, following Rosh Hashanah and the annual Uman pilgrimage, measles cases exploded in Israel. The cause is believed to be the numerous pilgrims who returned to Israel from the Ukraine with the measles virus.

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Recently, two counties in New York reported the ‘ending’ of their measles outbreaks. The state of New York has reported about 75 percent of all measles cases in the USA during 2019, says the CDC.  

  • On September 3rd, New York City (NYC) health officials announced the ‘measles outbreak is over, meaning an emergency order mandating vaccines will be lifted,’ reported AP News. The NYC officials said the reason for this Emergency Order change is ‘two incubation periods have passed since the last reported measles, without any new infections.’ As of August 26, there have been 34,444 doses of the MMR vaccine administered to people who are under 19 years of age in Williamsburg and Borough Park areas of NY since October 2018.
  • On July 25th, health officials in Rockland County, New York, announced ‘the end of the measles State of Emergency’ in its area. Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a press release ‘MMR vaccinations have reached 25,876 since October 2018.’ 

To increase awareness of the ongoing measles risk, the CDC previously issued a worldwide Level 1 Travel Alert on June 10, 2019. 

This Alert says ‘unvaccinated travelers infected with measles overseas have brought the disease back to the United States, causing outbreaks among unvaccinated people in their local communities.’

The CDC offers this travel advice:

  • Before your trip, check your destination for health risks.
  • Consult with a travel medicine provider at least 1-month before your trip to allow time to receive vaccinations, medicines, and advice that you may need.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines, including the MMR.

And, the CDC updated it’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travelers on May 13, 2019, which are as follows:

  • Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series,
  • People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart,
  • People 12 months old or older, who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.

>>  Check Your Measles Immunity Today  <<

Most pharmacies in the USA offer measles vaccines, such as MMR-II and ProQuad. Financial support programs for these measles vaccines can be found at Vaccine Discounts. 

As a general notice, the CDC says ‘any vaccine can cause a side effect, which should be reported to a healthcare provider, or to the CDC.’

Published by Vax Before Travel