France: Measles vaccination campaign launched in Calais and Grande-Synthe camps

Calais – After three people were confirmed with measles in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, northern France, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is to take part in a vaccination campaign against the disease in camps in Calais and Dunkirk.

In the Calais camp, two refugees (an adult and a nine-year-old child) and one volunteer have come down with measles, while three other cases have been confirmed at Calais’ central hospital. There are also reports of two children with measles symptoms in Grande-Synthe camp, near Dunkirk.

The campaign is being organised by the French Regional Health Agency, assisted by organisations including MSF, Médecins Du Monde (MDM), the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Agency (EPRUS), and HANDS International.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which carries the risk of serious complications. Teams launched an awareness-raising campaign on 26 January to alert refugees to the importance of being vaccinated – especially important in this situation, where camp residents are predominantly young and living in a very insecure situation. Vaccinations will be voluntary, and available to adults and children aged six months and over.

The campaign will take place at four sites around the Calais camp, home to some 4,000 people. The first vaccinations will be carried out today by EPRUS at Jules Ferry centre for women and children.

Next week the campaign will be extended to Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, where some 2,500 people are living.

MSF teams will begin vaccinating people on 2 February. MSF has been working in the Calais camp since September, where it runs a clinic providing general medical care.