Desk Report: 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 Kiran Rahim said “I’ve seen two cases of measles in my clinical practice in the last two months alone. It’s important that parents ensure their child is up to date with vaccinations. Measles can have life changing consequences for babies and children.
As a parent, you want to know that you’re protecting your child against whatever you can. Making sure they are fully vaccinated against measles will give you peace of mind, particularly when you may be out and about in London during the holidays. Please check your child’s red book to make sure they are up to date with their MMR doses. If they’re not, I urge you to contact their GP as soon as possible and make an appointment for a vaccination.”
It’s safe for your child to be vaccinated. The National Autistic Society has 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.
Daisy Amin parent to Ayra 2 said,
“It’s really simple to find out if your child has had their two doses of the MMR vaccine – which is all it takes to give the best protection against measles and prevent it spreading. As well as living in London, we’re traveling abroad to see family this summer, so checking that my daughter was fully vaccinated stopped me worrying about it before we go.”
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.