Parents & guardians urged to check children & young people's measles vaccinations

11 May 2023 4 min read

With cases of measles on the rise in the UK, parents and guardians are being urged to ensure that children are up to date with their vaccinations.

Highly infectious

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, and on rare occasions, long-term disability or death.

Symptoms of measles include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash. It is particularly easy to catch when in close contact with others.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provides protection from the disease. Children are offered the first dose of the MMR vaccine when aged one year and the second dose aged 3 years 4 months.

Uptake dropped

During the COVID pandemic, the uptake for routine childhood immunisations dropped globally, which is making it easier for measles to spread around the world.

Health professionals in the UK are urging parents and guardians to make sure their children are up to date with their two MMR vaccinations.

Never too late to catch up

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: It’s never too late to catch up, and you can get the MMR vaccine for free on the NHS whatever your age.

“Vaccines are our best line of defence against diseases like measles, mumps and rubella and help stop outbreaks occurring in the community.”

With measles now circulating in many countries around the world, the World Health Organisation has warned that Europe is likely to see a surge in cases unless countries catch-up on vaccinating children who have missed out.

Saving lives

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world for saving lives and protecting good health.

“With this forecast that measles is set to make a comeback in Europe, it is important to make sure your child or teenager is up to date with their MMR vaccines before the summer when they might be travelling and attending summer festivals, where a disease like measles can spread easily.

“To find out whether your child is up to date with their vaccinations, check their personal child health record (PCHR), also known as the red book, or contact you GP.”

Book an appointment

NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening, Steve Russell, said: “Since vaccination for measles cases was introduced by the NHS, over 4,500 lives have been saved.

“If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, contact your GP practice to book an appointment. It is never too late to catch up.”

Anyone who suspect they may have measles should stay at home and contact NHS 111 for advice, to help avoid spreading infections.

You can use this link to find a leaflet explaining the MMR vaccination, with translations into Bengali, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Ukrainian and Yoruba on the Government website.


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