Iohannis about measles epidemic: It is a catastrophe, vaccination must be mandatory

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President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday that the measles epidemic is a catastrophe, accusing systemic mistakes of the Ministry of Health.

"We have about 5,000 cases of measles and 26 deaths according to the latest data we received. It's a catastrophe, it's an epidemic and it's a catastrophe. So it is not worth asking whether there is good management of the situation. But to be extremely fair, I wouldn't just want to accuse this minister and the current team. Here we are dealing with systemic mistakes, and I think we need to see how we can do things better. I believe that, in the meantime, everyone has understood that it is not possible to continue without vaccination and then it is clear that we're going back to a topic that we have brought into discussion many times, and that is prevention. Such epidemic need to be prevented by systematic, mandatory, efficient and well-organized vaccination on behalf of the Ministry of Health. For many years now we have not had such a thing and here we have catastrophic results now," specified Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

He said he supports compulsory vaccination.

"I notice that at the level of the Government, they are slowly becoming aware of the gravity of this situation and I hope they come up with a policy in this area to solve the problem for a long time, because here we are not talking about solving it for a month or for this epidemic, which in fact, hasn't appeared now, it has sprung since September 2016 and it is clear that Romania needs a clear policy in the field of vaccination. Vaccination is needed, and then such epidemic will no longer occur (...). I think vaccination must be mandatory and must be carried out in some campaigns that are, including broadcast in the media, supported and explained to people," the head of state said.

President Iohannis stressed that those political leaders who argued that vaccines are harmful should be better informed.

"I remind you that even the World Health Organization has a campaign in this regard and I have had a very recent discussion with WHO High Representatives on this issue. It is somewhat paradoxical, because Romania had solved this problem. My generation didn't know such epidemic, they have reappeared because either these vaccination campaigns haven't been carried out or they have not been done properly," he added.AGERPRES(RO — author: Florentina Peia, editor: Andreea Rotaru; EN — author: Simona Iacob, editor: Maria Voican; online editor: Maria Voican)

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