In a follow-up on the measles epidemic in Romania, European health officials, in an update Friday, report the outbreak tally is now 5,119 cases since the beginning of 2016. This includes 24 deaths.

Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.
Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.

A local media report states that the country has run out of measles vaccine; however, Health minister Florian Bodog has recently said that 115,000 vaccines would reach Romania by May 10. He stated on Tuesday that the first 10,000 doses will reach the country this week and will be directed to the ten counties where the vaccines are missing.

Speaking on the topic recently, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, spoke of the government’s commitment to resolve the current vaccine supply shortage and ensure predictability, flexibility and continuity of supply in the future: “It’s a situation that can no longer be tolerated or accepted. It’s inadmissible for multiple vaccine shortage crises to occur in Romania each year. This situation has caused suffering to those families whose children died of measles. There are no excuses for these tragedies, nor for the fact that for certain vaccines only 1 in 2 children are immunized”.

Thirty-eight of the 42 districts have reported cases, Caras Severin (West part of the country, at the border with Serbia) being the most affected with 965 cases. The highest burden has fallen on children, including 888 infants too young to be vaccinated.

In addition to vaccine shortages, Romania has experienced a substantial drop in immunization coverage. Nearly 97 percent of the total measles cases reported were in unvaccinated individuals.