Young people who missed the MMR vaccine in early childhood will be offered the vaccination as part of a new programme beginning in Surrey.
Following an increase in the number of measles and mumps cases in England over the last eight years, NHS England, Public Health England and local authorities are launching a programme to protect young people in secondary school and at university against measles and mumps.
A number of young people may have missed out on being immunised following uncertainty around the safety of the vaccine. Many of the young people affected by this are now teenagers in education or on the verge of leaving home for college or university, where disease can be spread more easily.
A spokesperson for NHS England (Surrey and Sussex) said: “We know that the MMR vaccine provides safe and effective protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
“It has been shown across the world to be a safe and effective way of preventing measles and mumps and can protect your child and others against these infections and their serious consequences.
“Measles, mumps and rubella are highly contagious infectious diseases and spread very easily; you can catch measles if you spend just 15 minutes with someone who has the disease.”
“We are urging all parents of young people who have not yet had the vaccine to take advantage of this new programme.”
Children in the UK usually have the first MMR dose when they have turned a year old, and a second dose just after the age of three. Two doses of MMR are needed to get the best protection from measles and mumps.