new national campaign has launched today urging parents to ensure their child is up to date with their MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccinations, as well as other routine jabs. The campaign aims to reverse falling vaccination rates nationally and to protect everyone from a resurgence in these highly contagious and potentially very dangerous diseases.

Children in England are offered the MMR vaccine in two doses, the first usually between 12 and 13 months, and the second at 3 years 4 months. The target for coverage of both MMR doses by the age of five years is 95%. However, the latest coverage figure for England is 86.6%, with a rate of 75% in London and just 68% in Haringey.

Parents who are unsure if their child is up to date with all their routine vaccinations, should check their child’s Red Book (personal child health record) in the first instance. If unclear, GP practices are able to carry out checks and book appointments if required. The NHS is open and ensuring that your child is up to date with their vaccines is very important. The MMR vaccines can be given at any age, if missed out during infancy.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis. In addition, measles infection damages and suppresses the whole immune system, meaning children can be left much more susceptible to catching other infections.

In rare cases, measles can lead to a condition called SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), which can cause progressive destruction of the central nervous system, loss of motor control, epilepsy, and death.

Nationally the uptake of the second MMR vaccine has been falling since 2014/15 and concerns are being raised by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and health leaders about the likely resurgence of cases of measles in the UK, that will spread amongst unvaccinated people as international travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Haringey’s Director of Public Health, Dr Will Maimaris said:

“This campaign encourages parents with children aged 0 to 5 to attend their routine MMR vaccines to help give their child, and children around them, the best possible protection against measles, mumps and rubella.”

“In Haringey uptake is significantly lower than the 95% target, which means that many children are not protected from these highly contagious and potentially very dangerous diseases when they go to school.

“The MMR jab is a proven and safe vaccine to give your child. If you’re at all worried about the MMR jab, I would encourage you to seek advice from your Health Visitor or GP.”
Visit http://www.nhs.uk/MMR to find out more about the vaccines (external link)

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