Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a statement on his social media account: “The allegations of ‘death from measles’ are baseless,” he said.
Minister Koca stated that the news in the media that there are deaths due to measles cases in our country does not reflect the truth and said: “The allegations of concern on the subject are baseless. This statement has arisen from the need to inform First of all, we would like to draw attention to the following important information: There has been a death due to measles The cause of death, suspected or possibly due to measles, is multi-organ failure caused by HIV/AIDS The patient is a foreign national, born in 2015.
As you know, as a result of the surveys conducted by our healthcare professionals in accordance with the relevant program, measles was completely under control in our country. However, it is true that in recent years the number of measles cases in our country, as in many countries, has increased due to cases from abroad.
The news in the media that there are deaths from measles in our country is not the truth. The allegations that cause concern on this subject are baseless. This statement was born out of the need to properly inform the public. First of all, we would like to draw attention to the following important information: There is no death from measles. The cause of death, suspected or possibly due to measles, is multi-organ failure caused by the HIV/AIDS disease. The patient is a foreign national, born in 2015. As is known, as a result of the examinations carried out by our healthcare professionals in accordance with the relevant program, measles was completely under control in our country. However, it is a fact that in our country, as in many countries, in recent years there has been an increase in measles cases due to cases from abroad.
Despite increased vaccination rejection campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic period, the efforts of our healthcare providers across the country have kept KKK-I vaccine coverage above 95% for our children. It is gratifying that the number of children who are not vaccinated due to vaccine refusal is reported with the Consent Form Follow-up/Vaccination Status Information, which is gradually decreasing. A separate vaccination rate is calculated for foreigners in Turkey. This percentage is between 87 and 92% for the MMR vaccine. On the recommendation of our Vaccination Advisory Board, we have been administering three doses of measles vaccine to our children since 2019 from the age of one year. Scientific data points to the benefit of closely following the vaccination schedule in times of measles. On this occasion, we invite our citizens to be careful about vaccinations for the health of their children. In line with the decisions of the Immunization Advisory Board and the Measles Verification Commission, which consists of scientists from different universities in our country, in line with the increase in the number of measles cases in our country and around the world, intensive control strategies have been put into practice brought in all our provinces, starting in Istanbul, from January 2023. Within the framework of these control strategies:
· Contacts from all cases (home, school, work and hospital) are identified, post-exposure prophylaxis studies are performed and contacts are followed for the longest incubation period.
Active cases are searched with field studies in places where cases are seen, and undervaccinated and unvaccinated children are vaccinated by field teams.
In particular, in places where people live collectively (temporary shelters, removal centers, dormitories, etc.), active case studies are carried out with the necessary screenings through enhanced surveillance studies, and vaccination of unvaccinated or undervaccinated persons is ensured according to their age.
· In the event of a suspicious application to healthcare institutions, the strengthening of triage and isolation measures is maximized. If it cannot be proven that health care workers are immune to measles, they will be vaccinated.
· Vaccination studies are conducted by going to homes in high-risk areas determined by Provincial Health Directorates.
Similarly, soldiers are vaccinated, tourism workers and airport workers are vaccinated.
· Our GPs have been warned to immediately vaccinate all children who are under-vaccinated according to their age by checking the vaccination status of the children registered with them.
· Persons receiving assistance from Immigration Health Centers and Aliens Outpatient Clinics are urgently evaluated, and all children who are under-vaccinated according to their age are immediately vaccinated.
At the last meeting of the Vaccination Advisory Board this month, the current situation was reviewed and found to be stable, but it was decided that the investigations should continue with the same seriousness.
Our health organization carries out all necessary studies within the framework of international standards. The public must have a sense of security that will be given by the announcement and must show the necessary sensitivity to vaccination.