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The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) advises that infants aged between 6 and 11 months should receive an additional MMR vaccine before travelling abroad, amidst rising measles cases across Europe.

Parents are encouraged to have their infants vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure. Measles, a highly infectious and potentially serious disease, is preventable through vaccination.

The ICGP, representing over 85% of practising GPs in the Republic of Ireland and 1,044 GPs in training, highlights the importance of this precaution. Vaccination is available for free at GP practices for eligible individuals.

Dr Scott Walkin, Clinical Lead for Infection Control with the ICGP, emphasized:

“Measles is spreading fast in Europe right now. Getting the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent cases of measles. It is a highly contagious disease, easily passed in places where large numbers of people congregate, including airports, buses, trains, and ferries.”

Dr Walkin further noted that infants and individuals not fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine are at the greatest risk of contracting measles. Young babies are particularly susceptible to complications. Overseas travel heightens the risk of measles for unvaccinated children, with severe cases often necessitating hospitalisation in about one in five instances. “Vaccination is safe, effective, and essential for community immunity,” he stated.

Additionally, doctors recommend that relatives of infants travelling abroad should ensure they have received two MMR vaccinations if they are uncertain about their immunity. Those born in Ireland before 1978 are considered immune and do not require an MMR vaccine.