Check your child is up to date with their MMR vaccinations.
As children in Nottinghamshire returned to school for the new school year, NHS England is urging parents to check that their children are up to date with their MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccinations in the wake of measles cases rising across the country.
Childhood vaccination rates have fallen over the past 10 years and statistics show that over 102,000 children aged 4 and 5 years old starting in reception are not protected against catching measles, mumps and rubella. Measles is highly infectious and if left unvaccinated nine out of ten children in a classroom will catch the disease if just one child is infectious.
Whilst measles can be mild for some children, one in five will require a hospital visit and the infection can lead to complication in one in 15, such as meningitis and sepsis. There is no specific treatment for measles, so parents are being reminded that vaccination gives the best protection from serious illness.
A Nottinghamshire Healthcare spokesperson said: “Measles can start with cold like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and a cough with a rash not showing until they have been infectious for up to four days. In a classroom it may not be easy to spot that they have the measles infection at first and before they have a rash they could have infected nine out of ten of their unvaccinated classmates.”
The MMR vaccine is given at one year old and again at around three years and four months in readiness for starting school. Two doses are enough to give lifelong protection from becoming seriously unwell with mumps, measles and rubella. The MMR vaccine is often given at the same time as the pre-school booster including protection against polio. Anyone who has missed any of the vaccinations can catch up at any time.
Dr Sara Kayat said: “It’s important we keep our little ones fully protected from Measles, which is on the rise. Speaking as both a doctor and a mum, the MMR vaccine is the best possible way to keep our children safe and healthy. So, I am urging parents and guardians to check your child’s red book to make sure your child is fully vaccinated against this disease.”
The World Health Organisation identifies measles as one the most contagious infections in the world, yet the disease is completely preventable with vaccination. The UK lost its eradication status for measles in 2018 following an increase measles cases in the country and vaccine levels lower than the 95% target set.
To check if your child is up to date with their vaccinations check their Red Book or ask their GP practice. If any doses have been missed you can make an appointment at your GP practice to catch up and become protected.
The School Aged Immunisation Service is no longer provided by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust across Nottinghamshire. The contact details for the new provider IntraHealth are Immunisations.Nottinghamshire@intrahealth.co.uk or call 03333583397 and choose option 4.