Low Irish vaccination rates a risk to schools reopening, says Unicef

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Digital Desk staff

A special effort is needed to prevent children in Ireland returning to school unvaccinated, according to Unicef.

The United Nations agency, responsible for providing aid to children around the world, has expressed concern about immunisation rates in Ireland, saying they are simply not high enough.

Outbreaks of measles have been seen in the recent past, and officials say some children have missed vaccination doses during lockdown according to today's Business Post.

The number of children who received the measles vaccination last year stood at 91 per cent, however, the recommended vaccine uptake rate for children is 95 per cent.

Herd immunity, the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population, can only happen if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to a disease. This is most often achieved by vaccination.

The level of vaccination required to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.

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Coronavirus vaccine

Unicef’s warning comes amid a global race to create a safe and effective vaccine to halt the spread of Covid-19.

New research carried out by Kings College in London found that just over half of respondents would be certain or very likely to accept a jab to immunise them against the virus.

It found that beliefs, attitudes and scepticism may hold people back from taking up a vaccine against coronavirus in the future.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, says an insufficient amount of uptake of a coronavirus vaccine would jeopardise its effectiveness: “If 50 per cent of people, because of stuff that they’ve enjoyed on the internet, aren’t going to join in with us, they’re going to wreck it for us.”

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