With the global outbreak of measles continuing to affect children worldwide, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC), in collaboration with healthcare facilities in the Emirate, has launched a vaccination campaign calling on parents to avail of free MMR vaccinations (against measles, mumps, and rubella) for children aged between one and five years old.

While measles can affect individuals in all age groups, children under five years old are most susceptible. The three-week campaign starting 28th May, encourages the administration of an additional dose of the MMR vaccine to children in the targeted age group, regardless of previous doses or confirmed diagnoses, to ensure more comprehensive protection against the disease. The campaign is in line with the centre’s proactive community health and wellbeing strategy. The vaccine is available at 58 facilities and health centres in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra, ensuring enhanced accessibility for the communities served by Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) witnessed a 30-fold increase in measles cases across 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia in 2023, compared with 2022.

Speaking about the importance of vaccination, Dr. Ahmed AlKhazraji, Acting Director-General, ADPHC, said, “Immunisation is a key component of our proactive health strategy. Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre continuously monitors health challenges at global, regional and local levels, adapting our vaccination programmes to effectively shield the community we serve from emerging threats. Consequently, protecting our children, who are most susceptible to measles has become our top priority. We therefore encourage all parents to minimise the potential risks of the disease and benefit from the free vaccinations being offered at registered healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi.”

The national vaccination programme currently includes two doses of the measles vaccine, with the first dose given at 12 months and the second at 18 months of age. The additional dose provided as part of the campaign will provide an added boost of protection in efforts to safeguard the community.

The measles virus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. The virus can survive for two hours in the air or on surfaces. Infected individuals are normally contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears. To protect against the disease, vaccination is considered the best, safest and most effective tool.

Abu Dhabi is committed to implementing World Health Organisation (WHO) strategies for the elimination of measles worldwide. Measles eradication will be achieved through adherence to routine vaccination programmes and supplementary immunisation campaigns.