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Health leaders urge Nottinghamshire parents to protect children from measles as vaccine take up falls

This World Immunisation Week health leaders in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are urging parents and carers to check their child has had both doses of the MMR vaccine as vaccination rates for most local authority areas fall below World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.

In February, the WHO warned that after a period of very low detection, there is now a risk of a resurgence in measles across Europe which poses a risk for unvaccinated children in England.

There have been cases of measles in England for a number of years and the UK lost its elimination status as a result of cases and MMR vaccine uptake falling lower than the WHO recommendation of 95 per cent.

MMR protects against measles, mumps and rubella and has been used since the 1980s.

It is estimated that more than 20 million cases of measles have been prevented since the start of measles vaccination in the UK, and more than 4,500 lives saved as a result. (source UKHSA)

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But almost one in nine children in the East Midlands are unvaccinated and unprotected with 91.1 per cent having the first dose by the age of two.

MMR is free and provides long-lasting protection against measles, mumps and rubella when a child has two doses – the first at one year and the second at three years and four months old.

It is never too late to catch up on any missed doses of MMR vaccine and this year the NHS has run The Big Catch Up contacting parents and carers of children who do not have vaccination recorded inviting them to their local GP practice.

Trish Thompson, Director of Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning with NHS England in the Midlands said:

“Measles can be a particularly nasty illness which can cause long-term health conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis and blindness. Over the last few years, we have come a long way in preventing it through the protection of the MMR vaccination. We need to ensure we continue to build this protection by encouraging more families to come forward for vaccination.”

If families believe their children have fallen behind on first or second MMR vaccinations, they should contact their GP practice to book an appointment. For more information please visit NHS vaccinations and when to have them – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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