Public Health England (PHE) is urging all parents to get their children immunised against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) as per the schedule, or get the vaccination now if they missed it at the scheduled time. PHE has made the call following 231 confirmed cases of measles reported in the first quarter of 2019. Additionally, there were 795 confirmed cases of mumps in the quarter. There were no new cases of rubella.
Measles being a highly infectious disease, puts anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine at risk, especially unvaccinated individuals travelling to countries currently experiencing an epidemic of measles. It is believed that the recent cases of measles have occurred in the under-vaccinated communities, particularly those linked to countries with ongoing outbreaks.
While a single dose of the MMR vaccine confers a 90-95 per cent protection, the second dose brings it up to 99 per cent. Since the coverage of the second dose for children aged five years is 87.4 per cent, PHE is strongly emphasising full vaccination with two doses.
Seema Kennedy, Public Health Minister, said: "Over 30 years ago we introduced the MMR vaccine, and since then our world-leading vaccination programme is estimated to have prevented 1.8 million painful and potentially fatal cases of measles. The vaccine was an enormous catapult for improving the health of children and young people and still is."