Parents in Swindon encouraged to get their children vaccinated against measles

With cases of measles rising across England, especially among young children, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health has urged parents to make sure their children have been vaccinated.

Published: Tuesday, 6th February 2024

Vaccinated child

Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated and can cause very serious illness in some children, leading to hospitalisation. People in certain at-risk groups including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles. Symptoms include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash.

Recent figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have revealed that the uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in young children aged 5 is 85 per cent. This is at its lowest level in more than a decade and well below the recommended target of 95 per cent. 

In 2022/23, 86.8 per cent of children in Swindon have received two doses of the MMR vaccine by the age of five.

The best protection against measles for children and adults is to get both doses of the MMR vaccine. Children are offered a free vaccine on the NHS at 12-months-old and then a pre-school booster dose at three years and four months of age.

It’s never too late for children or adults to catch up on any missed MMR vaccinations. If you or your child haven’t yet been vaccinated, you should contact your GP practice to book a free appointment.

Parents are encouraged to check their child’s personal child health record (PCHR), known as the red book, or contact their GP practice to check if they’ve been vaccinated.

Throughout the next few months, national MMR vaccination reminders will be sent to the parents and guardians of children aged between 6 and 11 in Swindon, who are not yet fully vaccinated against measles.

A version of the MMR vaccine that does not contain gelatine can be obtained from GP practices, making it suitable for people of all faiths. However, the practice may need to order this product in specially, so any such requests need to be made in advance of the appointment.

Professor Steve Maddern, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health said: “I would encourage Swindon residents to make sure they’re up to date with their routine MMR vaccine. In particular, I would urge all parents to check if their children are vaccinated, to protect them against measles, mumps and rubella.

“If your child is due to have had two doses of MMR but has not yet received them, no matter what age they are, you should contact your GP to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. If you can’t remember if your child has had any doses of the MMR vaccine, check their personal child health record (the red book) or contact their GP. To become fully protected, children need two doses of the vaccine.

“Measles is a serious illness, with one in five children who get the disease having to be admitted to hospital for treatment, so if you or your child has not had the MMR jab, it’s vital you get vaccinated.”

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