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NHS England today joins with Public Health England, the Department of Health and local authorities across the country to urge parents of 10 – 16 year olds to prevent measles by getting their children vaccinated with the MMR jab.
Figures published today show high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England in the first three months of 2013 (587 by the end of March), following a record number of almost 2,000 cases in 2012. The rise in measles cases is mostly due to 10 – 16 year olds who missed out on vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concerns were raised by discredited fears of the MMR vaccine.
There are now one third of a million children in this age group in England who have not been immunised against measles and a further one third of a million who have only had one jab, instead of the two jabs needed to ensure they are fully protected.
Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England and a practising GP said:
“I would urge parents and guardians of 10 -16 year olds to think: has your child had their MMR jabs? If they have not had the required 2 doses of the vaccine or you are not sure, contact your local GP surgery and get the jabs. Young people who are 16 and over, but not had their jabs should also come forward to get themselves vaccinated. Everyone can have the vaccine as long as it is medically advisable for them to do so”.
“Measles is a very unpleasant, potentially fatal, but entirely preventable disease. To prevent an outbreak as we have seen in Wales recently it is essential to protect our children and young people by making an appointment at the GP surgery and getting vaccinated.”
Kate Davies, Head of Public Health at NHS England said:
“GPs are geared up and ready to vaccinate children and young people who need the jabs. Around 1600 vaccinations are expected each month. This is a campaign across the whole of England and NHS England can reassure everyone that there are sufficient supplies of vaccine to do this. There are also an additional one million doses of vaccine available if needed, to ensure everyone who needs the vaccine gets it.
“GPs will also be checking their lists to proactively identify children and young people who have not been vaccinated or have only had one dose and calling them in. Parents and young people don’t need to wait to be contacted. If they are worried they should contact their GP surgery and if necessary make an appointment”.
For more information please visit the programme and resources website.