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Sefton health bosses’ MMR vaccination reminder

Photograph of child having MMR vaccination injectionWith national reports of a “significant drop” in the number of children being vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), health bosses are urging parents and guardians to make sure their children are protected.

As many as one in 10 eligible children under the age of five in England have not yet had both MMR vaccines.

Serious effects

These children are not properly protected, which means they are at risk of the serious effects these diseases can have.

Chest and ear infections, fits, diarrhoea, and even brain damage can result from complications with measles. Mumps can cause viral meningitis, encephalitis and temporary hearing loss, while rubella can have very serious consequences if caught during pregnancy and can result in babies being born with heart problems or brain damage.

Disability

Dr Pete Chamberlain, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP, said: “Measles, mumps and rubella are serious infections on the rise that can cause death or long-term disability. If your child is between one and five years old, we would ask that you make sure they get two doses of the MMR vaccine before their fifth birthday.

“Your GP practice will provide these vaccines free of charge to all children, to provide them with the best start in life.”

Please contact your GP to book your child’s first or second dose. You can also visit www.nhs.uk/MMR to find out more about the vaccination and when your children should have them.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG and local GP, said: “If your child hasn’t yet had both of their MMR vaccines, no matter what age they are, it’s not too late.

To ensure the ongoing protection from measles, mumps and rubella across the whole community, it is important that 95% of people have the MMR vaccination.

Dangerous

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Vaccinations are vitally important to protect individuals and our wider community by driving down rates of infection.

“Although sometime dismissed along with mumps and rubella as a childhood disease, measles is dangerous, unpleasant to catch and can cause very serious complications, in otherwise healthy people. Since the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1968, 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths have been prevented in the UK.

“The more people who have the MMR vaccination, the safer we all are, and I would urge parents and guardians in Sefton to ensure their children are immunised. If you are not sure if your child is up to date with all their routine vaccinations check their Red Book (personal child health record) ”

Protect and nurture

Abigail Cattlin, Chair of the Southport Ormskirk Sefton (SOS) Maternity Voices Partnership, said: “Our aim as parents and guardians is to protect and nurture our children, and vaccinations against terrible diseases like measles, mumps and rubella are so important to keep them safe and healthy. Let’s work together to keep every child safe.”

Find out more.