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Is your child immunised against MMR?

by Cathy Sheel

A new campaign is encouraging parents and guardians of children aged 1 to 5 years to check that they are up to date with their MMR vaccines and encourage those that may have missed their appointments to come forward.

The MMR vaccine protects against three infections: measles, mumps and rubella. More than 1 in 10 eligible children under the age of 5 in England are currently unvaccinated, or only partially vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. This leaves these children unprotected and increases the risk of outbreaks in schools and nurseries.

That’s why the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) supported by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the NHS are launching the campaign encouraging parents and guardians to ensure their children are vaccinated against MMR, and if they can’t remember if their child is up to date to check his or her Red Book (personal child health record).

Uptake of most routine childhood vaccinations has been declining over the past 5 to 10 years – a problem made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measles can infect around 9 out of 10 non-immune (those who are unvaccinated or have not previously been infected with the measles virus) people exposed to it and can lead to serious complications, such as ear and chest infections, fits, diarrhoea and dehydration in younger children.

Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health said: “The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way for parents and guardians to protect their children against measles, mumps and rubella.  It is extremely important that all babies and children receive their routine vaccinations at the right time in order to give them the best start in life.

“Diseases like smallpox and polio have been eradicated in the UK thanks to vaccines. Which is why encouraging uptake and catching up children who missed out on their MMR vaccinations is vital in preventing outbreaks.”

Parents or guardians of children who are not up to date with their two doses of MMR vaccine should contact their GP practice to book an appointment. It’s never too late to catch up.

Find out more at nhs.uk/MMR