Vaccine warning as measles spreads

First published in Local

BROMSGROVE parents are being urged to get their children immunised with the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The Health Protection Agency said that the latest updated figures show there were 18 suspected cases of measles in Worcestershire.

Dr Gillian Smith, regional immunisation lead for the Health Protection Agency in the West Midlands, said: “I can’t stress enough how vital it is that those people who haven’t yet been immunised against measles book their MMR jab.

“Most cases are amongst children and so we are urging all parents to ensure that their children are immunised with two doses of the MMR vaccine.”

Children are given their first MMR vaccination at 13 months of age.

A second dose should be given at three years and four months of age.

“I can’t stress enough how vital it is that those people who haven’t yet been immunised against measles book their MMR jab."

Dr Gillian Smith, regional immunisation lead for the Health Protection Agency

The national target is for 95 per cent of children to be immunised with their first MMR jab just after their first birthday, with a second jab for pre-school youngsters.

However in the West Midlands region the level of immunisation is below this national target and this is why measles is able to spread.

“The latest figures for the region show that 87.7 per cent of all children aged two and under will have had one dose of the vaccine, and we know that in some parts of the region the uptake is even lower,” Dr Smith added.

“It’s never too late to get vaccinated – contact your GP to book the jab. It is essential children receive both doses of the MMR to ensure they are fully protected. It doesn’t only protect your child – it also protects children who can’t be immunised because of existing serious health problems, like childhood cancers. “I would like to reassure parents that the MMR is a safe and effective vaccine and is given to millions of children worldwide. Those children who have not been immunised are at risk of measles.”

For information on childhood immunisation residents can speak to their GP or visit www.immunisation.nhs.uk

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