The measles outbreaks in Romania in 2016 is not circumstantial, but a direct consequence of the “major” malfunctions in public policy regarding vaccination, Minister of Health Florian Bodog stated on Friday in a press release sent to AGERPRES.
“For years now Romania has been below the safety threshold of vaccination coverage. That is, the risk of a measles outbreak was imminent. Which is what actually happened. The outbreak of the measles epidemic in 2016 is not conjectural, it is a direct consequence of major malfunctions in the public policy on vaccination,” the Minister of Health stated.
According to him, the Vaccination Law corrects the irregularities that led to the outbreak of the epidemic, providing the best conditions for protecting children’s health.
“For Romania, the stake of the vaccination bill is huge. Ensuring a healthy future for four million children lies in our hands. The Romanian Parliament, the highest institution of democracy, will decide on the final content of this law. However, beyond the debates in Parliament, it is important that all the public opinion be informed and understand the true meaning of the law and the profound changes it brings. (…) We have a moral duty towards our children, to prevent harm before it happens. As we also have a moral duty to the community in which we live to prevent harm before it happens to other children or parents,” Bodog said, quoted in the press release.
He added that any bill is amendable and that is why it is open to any public debates as long as they are carried out with honesty, good sense and decency.
“But this project is the day-to-day work of specialists in the field of vaccination and who have faced all the flaws of the current framework. That is why the law has been carefully and correctly thought through by those who best understand how to regulate the vaccination policy,” the Minister of Health also said.
The bill on the organisation and funding of public vaccination in Romania was adopted by the Government on Wednesday. The bill was submitted to Parliament for debate and adoption. The normative act would come into force on January 1, 2018.
Health Minister assures immunization activities will be soon back to normal
Health Minister Florian Bodog, addressing a press conference in Targoviste, assured that now that the government has adopted the Vaccination Law, things will get back to normal, as in all European countries.
Bodog said that the law allows parents to refuse vaccination, but that they must take responsibility for this decision.
“They can refuse vaccination, but knowing that they take responsibility. … What does responsibility mean? If the disease hits a community, it’s your responsibility for failing to have your child vaccinated, that’s a huge responsibility. At this moment the refusal stems from the so called anti-vaxxers who promote various messages and theses with more or less arguments, and also from the population’s lack of information,” the Health Minister said.
He emphasized the role of authorities and family doctors in properly informing about vaccination.
“What is, in your opinion, the reason for 60,000 children have been vaccinated this month? It’s because public health authorities, family doctors have taken their work very seriously, they informed the parents. We carry out this information campaign, we provide family doctors with enough vaccines, so that all conditions are met. I assure you that things will get back to normal, as they did in all European countries,” Minister Florian Bodog said.
The Minister of Health added that he hopes Parliament debates the Vaccination Law in a fast-track procedure.
“The government has just adopted the Vaccination Law, making immunization shots mandatory. The parent is obliged to participate in the information actions organized by us, by family doctors, he has the right to refuse vaccination, but takes all the responsibilities that arise from this refusal. There are sanctions provided for, from minister down to family doctor and to the parents as regards failure to comply with the provisions of the law. The law will go through Parliament and I am confident that the lawmakers will take speedy action because we want a healthy nation, we don’t want any more children to die because they are not vaccinated,” the Minister of Health said.
Minister of Health Florian Bodog was on a working trip to Dambovita County on Thursday and Friday, visiting the Targoviste County Hospital, the Pucioasa Hospital and the Sanatorium in Moroieni. The minister emphasized that funds were allocated to equip the medical facilities in the county with performing devices and to revamp the Moroieni Sanatorium. The Minister of Health also said that he discussed with patients and medical staff to learn what problems they are facing.
National Public Health Institute: 8,493 measles cases reported by Friday
A total of 8,493 confirmed measles cases have been reported by Friday since the outbreak of the disease, informs a release on the website of the National Center for the Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases of the National Public Health Institute.
Of these, there were 32 fatalities as follows: eight in Timis County, six in Arad, seven in Dolj, three in Caras-Severin and one in each Bihor, Cluj, Calarasi, Satu Mare, Vaslui, Galati, Mures and Bucharest.
Measles outbreaks have been registered in all 41 counties, the most affected – with over one thousand cases each – being Timis (1,215 cases), Caras-Severin (1,110) and Arad (1,002).
The government adopted on Wednesday the bill on the organization and funding of the population’s vaccination. The piece of legislation was referred to Parliament for debate and adoption and should come in effect on January 1, 2018.