Parents across Calderdale are being encouraged to ensure their child gets the MMR vaccination after Yorkshire and the Humber reported an increase in measles cases in the first three months of 2013.
Although there were none in Calderdale, 50 cases of measles were reported in Yorkshire and the Humber and trends show that those figures are likely to increase as the year goes on.
Now parents are being encouraged to contact their GP to make sure their child gets the jab before the new school year starts in September.
Dr Hazel Carsley, clinical lead for children across Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which is the organisation responsible for commissioning healthcare services on behalf of people in Calderdale, said: “In Calderdale, our uptake of MMR is good in young children as parents recognise the importance of this vaccination, but there are still some ‘at risk’ groups with lower rates of MMR uptake, including teenagers and young people.
“It is important that all parents check that their children have had two doses of the MMR vaccination, if they are aged over three years and four months - one dose doesn’t give full protection. It is particularly important for teenagers to be protected fully.
“GP practices within the CCGs are working closely with public health colleagues to raise awareness of the importance of this safe and effective vaccine in protecting children and young adults against not only measles, but also mumps and rubella.”
A national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers was announced yesterday by Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health. The aim is to vaccinate as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible in time for the next school year.
As part of the campaign, Calderdale Council’s public health team is writing to parents with unimmunised children.
The uptake of the MMR vaccination in Calderdale has been improving over the last few years and is currently over 90% for children aged five years.
Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift said: “Fortunately, there have been no cases of measles in Calderdale so far this year. The best way to keep all our children safe is for every child to be immunised, so please act now.”
If your child has not had the MMR vaccination, or the second booster, contact your GP and make an appointment. Further advice and information is available at www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Measles/Pages/Introduction.aspx