Parents warned after rise in the number of a measles cases

A father, child and nurse

Parents are being urged to check their children’s vaccination status, after worrying rise in the number of a measles cases.

Senior doctors in Bedford Borough issued the warning, following an increase in measles cases in the UK.

The disease is so infectious that the NHS is now warning that as many as nine out of 10 unvaccinated children would be susceptible to measles if a single classmate brought it into school.

Vaccination rates in some parts of the local area have fallen in recent years, but it’s not too late to make sure your children have the protection they need against a range of potentially nasty illnesses.  It is recommended that children receive the MMR vaccine in two doses: one at around 12 months and the second at around three years and four months.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, deputy chief medical director and clinical lead for children’s and maternity services at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said; “There are lots of reasons why your child may not be up to date on all of their immunisations.  We know that some families couldn’t attend routine appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of those children are now at school or coming up to school age.

“We also know that families sometimes change their minds, so even if you previously chose not to have your child vaccinated, the opportunity is still there.

“The first few weeks after long holidays are notoriously bad for infectious diseases, as some families return from visiting other parts of the UK or overseas.  You can make sure your child doesn’t fall behind at school from an absence which is preventable through the NHS immunisation programme.”

She added; “The NHS offers over a dozen routine immunisation programmes for children under the age of five, but there is a recommended schedule up to the teenage years.

“The MMR vaccine is safe and effective, offering protection against measles, mumps and rubella which are dangerous, highly infectious illnesses which can cause serious complications.  Your child should have received two doses of the MMR vaccine before reaching school age, and you can check this in their personal child health record (red book).”

Parents whose children need catch-up doses of any immunisations should contact their GP practice for advice.

You can find out more about the complications of measles and get answers to many questions you may have on the NHS website by clicking here.

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