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North Yorkshire's Secondary School Children Urged To Get MMR Jab


6:00am 27th July 2013

Doctors in North Yorkshire are urging secondary school children who have not been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella to visit their GP over the summer holidays to get their jab.

Vaccination rates across some parts of North Yorkshire and the Humber are generally high, which has helped the area avoid any major outbreaks over recent years, but there remains a significant number of children who remain unprotected.  As part of a national campaign GPs across the region have issued letters to a number of secondary school children who remain unvaccinated and therefore unprotected.

Dr Phil Kirby from NHS England (North Yorkshire and the Humber) said:

“I would like to urge everyone who has received a letter to go along to their GP to get vaccinated, the appointment should take no longer than half an hour and it will give you the best possible chance of avoiding a nasty illness. As well as protecting yourself, you will also be doing your bit to protect others, by reducing the chances of an outbreak happening locally.”

“Cases of measles, mumps and rubella are rare, however, these conditions are highly infectious and can sometimes have serious, potentially fatal, complications, includi ng meningitis, swelling of the brain and deafness so we want to do everything we can to minimise the chance of an outbreak in North Yorkshire and the Humber.”

The catch-up programme, run by Public Health England, NHS England, the Department of Health and local authorities, aims to prevent measles outbreaks by giving the MMR vaccination to as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible, in time for the start of the next school year.

MMR vaccinations consist of two injections; this programme is, in the first instance, targeting children who have had none, say the NHS. They add that if parents are unsure whether they or their child has had two doses of the vaccine they can speak to their GP or Practice Nurse who will have a record.

This age group is most at risk of measles due to the fall in coverage of MMR vaccinations that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the now discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread, says Dr Kirby.

Dr Kirby adds that: "During this period, vaccination uptake, nationally, fell to as low as 80 per cent in 2005, with lower rates in some parts of the country. Today the MMR vaccine coverage among five year olds in England is at its highest recorded levels, with 94 per cent receiving one dose and 90 per cent receiving two doses though locally some areas did not achieve such high coverage in 2012".

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