By Staff Reporter — MUSCAT: May 8 – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has asked all citizens and residents aged between 20 and 35 years to get themselves vaccinated free of cost for measles. In a press conference on Monday, the ministry said the National Measles Immunisation Campaign will be launched next week. It will be headed by Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health. Dr Mohammed bin Saif al Hosni, Under-Secretary for Health Affairs, and other senior officials, are also expected to be present. The minister said: “The Ministry of Health has detected an outbreak of measles in the Sultanate. In 2016, the number of confirmed cases (of measles) reached 114 cases and from January until the end of April 2017, 44 cases have been registered.”
He said the increase in the number of expatriates from neighbouring countries and frequent population movement between nations with outbreaks of several communicable diseases are some of the factors resulting in a rise in the number of measles cases. Dr Al Saeedi said the Sultanate is now close to totally eradicating measles and rubella. Many strategies, including surveillance, outbreak investigation and preventive measures, have been adopted, in the past. He said that in the last few years, Oman has reported a low incidence rate of measles, which has reached “almost zero local case” per million population, according to the World health Organisation (WHO).
The minister said the age group 20 to 35 years (born between 1982 and 1997) is more susceptible to the infection. Immunisation will be by injection, with one dose per person, and will be effective. The ministry has asked them to get free vaccination at the healthcare institutions and immunisation centres for their protection and to prevent transmission of the virus in the community. The vaccination campaign will be in two phases. The first phase includes the governorates of Dhofar and Al Wusta from May 14 to 20 and the second phase will cover the rest of the governorates of the Sultanate. The teams will target the said age groups during the campaign period.