While refuting rumours about the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned against spreading incorrect information about the National Measles Immunisation Campaign (NMIC).
The MoH, which began its campaign across governorates in Oman on Sunday for both citizens and expatriates, said the MMR vaccine was “highly safe and has no serious or significant side effects”. It said there is no evidence of what is being circulated that the MMR vaccine causes infertility or
On the contrary, the vaccine also protects from mumps disease, which causes infertility.
In a statement, it said legal and administrative procedures will be taken against those spreading rumours about the vaccine.
The statement comes in the wake of rumours spread in the social media.
“Do not pay attention to rumours being spread around,” said the ministry, while calling on the people in the age group 20 to 35 years (born between 1982 and 1997) to visit the public or private health institutions to get themselves vaccinated for free.
It also asked the people to call MoH Contact Centre No 24441999 for any campaign-related queries.
The MoH said the campaign was undertaken because of an increase in the number of infected cases, which touched 114 in 2016.
It has been guided by academic institutions and international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Meanwhile, the Sultanate launched the second phase of its measles vaccination campaign on Sunday, which will run until September 16.
It will cover all governorates, except the governorates of Dhofar and Al Wusta, where the campaign was conducted in May.
The second phase of the campaign officially began in the Governorate of Muscat, North Al Khuwair Health Centre, under the auspices of Sayyid Saud bin Hilal al Busaidy, State Minister and Governor of Muscat.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health, was also present. It was attended by health officials and media representatives.
The campaign was launched in the other governorates under the auspices of respective governors with the attendance of MoH under-secretaries.
Accordingly, authorised public and private health institutions affiliated to the MoH and other non-MoH institutions such as the military and security authorities, Diwan of Royal Court and the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital have started receiving both citizens and expatriates for free vaccination.
Many private sector health establishments too have started receiving them.
Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva.
An infected person can release the infection into the air when he coughs or sneezes.
The disease can be contracted from close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours.
Young children who are not vaccinated are at a high risk for measles and its complications, besides “unvaccinated” pregnant women and any person who is not immune to measles.
Persons suffering from measles develops fever, runny nose, sore throat, and cough.
A widespread skin rash is a clear sign of measles.
Measles can lead to life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Other complications may include ear infection, bronchitis, miscarriage or preterm labour, and severe diarrhoea. Measles vaccine has been in use for over 50 years. It is safe, effective and inexpensive.
It is often incorporated with rubella and mumps vaccines as (MMR). Routine measles vaccination is recommended to prevent measles disease.
MMR doses are given at 12 months and 18 months of age to all children in Oman.
In the immunisation campaigns, one dose is given for each adult in the form of an injection on the arm.
During the national campaign, the vaccine will be made available free at the governorates’ health institutions from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.
As for those studying abroad, they should get themselves vaccinated at the health centres before travelling or once they return home.
Patients with kidney failures undergoing dialysis can safely take the vaccine.
People suffering from temporary or chronic health issues related to platelets need to consult a specialist for deciding the right time for taking the vaccine.
Blood donors should either donate blood before vaccination or 30 days after the vaccination.
Measles vaccine is not recommended for persons with congenital immunodeficiency, HIV infection, leukaemia, lymphoma or generalised malignancy or those receiving alkylating agents, antimetabolites, radiation or large doses of corticosteroids, besides pregnant women.
Pregnant women should not take the measles vaccine and should receive it after giving birth.
It is safe for breastfeeding mothers. Women in the targeted age group should avoid conceiving for at least four weeks after MMR vaccination.
It is suggested that they go for a pregnancy test before getting vaccinated.
Zainab Al Nassri