Call for incentives to boost the low levels of vaccine uptake in Ireland.

In the past six weeks over one hundred suspected cases of measles have been reported. Director of the National Disease Surveillance Centre Dr Darina O'Flanagan says this underlines the need for records of vaccinations in schools.

To protect the children who haven’t been vaccinated.

The last major measles epidemic here was three years ago, when over 1200 children in the Eastern Regional Health Authority area got measles. Hundreds were hospitalised and three children subsequently died from complications.

At present the uptake rate for the MMR vaccine is 62% in the eastern region. Parents are being encouraged to have babies over one year old immunised with the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.

People tend to forget about the rubella virus, says Dr Marie Laffoy, Director of Public Health at the Eastern Regional Health Authority. This virus has serious health implications for unborn babies.

It can cause eye conditions, intellectual disability conditions and heart conditions.

Experts are also looking at incentives for parents to have their children vaccinated.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 January 2003. The reporter is Aileen O’Meara.