The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced an increase in cases of measles across London, with two thirds of cases in England over the last six months having been in the capital.
Measles spreads very easily, and while there is no specific treatment for it, vaccination gives the best protection against becoming seriously unwell.
NHS England is therefore calling on all parents and guardians – especially in London – to ensure their children are fully vaccinated against the disease.
One in ten children in England are not fully protected with both doses of the MMR vaccine and, in some areas of London, up to two in five children are left unprotected – well below the World Health Organisation’s recommended level of 95%.
Measles is highly infectious and can cause serious complications such as meningitis and sepsis – one in every five children who gets measles requires a hospital visit. It can start with cold-like symptoms and a high temperature up to several days before a rash appears and progresses through the rest of the body.
The MMR vaccine is part of the routine programme of immunisations offered to babies and children in England, so your child may already be protected. To be absolutely sure, parents are strongly encouraged to check their child’s medical record, found in their red book, (their Personal Child Health Record, which is given to parents/carers at a child’s birth) or contact their GP practice. You can then make an appointment to catch up with any missed MMR doses or if you have any questions.
Dr Olamide Savage:
“The important thing to remember about measles is that it is totally preventable with the vaccine, so if your child is up to date with MMR doses in their red book, you have nothing to worry about. If you think they might need a first or second dose, it’s vital to get this to protect your child; especially if you live in London. So please contact your GP surgery as soon as you can and arrange an appointment.”
It’s safe for your child to be vaccinated. The National Autistic Society have said that there is ‘no link between autism and vaccines.’ The MMR vaccine has protected 20 million people since the 1960s and saved over 4500 lives. Moreover, the vaccine also offers protection against mumps and rubella (German measles), so you’re keeping your child safe from several diseases at once.
Joke Ashiru, mum of two daughters aged 2 and 6
“All parents worry about their children, and with the summer holidays coming up it feels like there’s a lot on my to do list but checking my daughters are vaccinated against measles is a priority to avoid them getting ill and I’d feel safe taking them abroad over the summer.
Don’t forget to contact your GP practice to check your own vaccination record and make an appointment to catch up on any missed doses, too.
To find out more visit nhs.uk/mmr