Romania cuts vaccine exports as measles outbreak takes hold

There were a reported 4,800 cases of measles in Romania last year. [Yonush Nemesh/ Shutterstock]

The European Commission has endorsed Romania’s decision to temporarily suspend exports of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the rest of the EU, following a serious measles outbreak and dwindling medical stocks. EURACTIV Romania reports.

In the last year, 4,800 cases of measles were reported in Romania. Stocks of the MMR vaccine are running out and the country’s government has decided to take emergency measures.

According to a statement released by the Romanian health ministry, seen by Agerpres, the Commission’s decision comes following a request by Minister for Health Florian Bodog.

“In view of the measles epidemic our country is facing and the discontinuity of compulsory vaccine supply for the vaccination calendar, on 27 April, the Romanian authorities notified the European Commission of a draft order suspending vaccine exports,” the statement revealed.

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It added that “after examining the draft legislative act, the European Commission decided that, in this particular case, the request to adopt emergency procedures is justified”.

HotNews.ro recently reported that nearly 4,000 doses of measles vaccine have been taken off the Romanian market for export purposes in the last three weeks, according to data provided by pharmaceutical distributors.

Bodog insisted that he would take all necessary steps to ensure that Romanian patients can benefit from the vaccine, as well as other medicines and treatments.

“Unfortunately, although the measles epidemic was announced a year ago, the health ministry at the time did not take appropriate action and did not stock enough vaccine to supply areas where the product ran out,” the minister added in the statement.

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European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis said in an interview with HotNews that “I am very worried about this situation and we will follow it carefully through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). I ask Romania again to tell us how we can help.”

The Lithuanian official added that there are measles outbreaks in 15 other European countries but that Romania is of the biggest concern.

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