A national government campaign has launched this week urging parents to ensure their child is up-to-date with their MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) and all other routine childhood immunisations, as the latest data shows MMR vaccination uptake across the country has dropped to the lowest level in a decade.
In Croydon, coverage for the two doses of the MMR vaccine in five year olds is currently 73.2%, compared to England at 85.5%.
The World Health Organisation advises a 95% vaccination uptake rate, with two doses of MMR by age five, to achieve herd immunity protection among a local population. This will ensure that the virus can no longer be passed on within the community.
Children in England are offered the MMR vaccine in two doses, the first usually between 12 and 13 months, and the second at three years four months.
Measles is highly contagious so even a small decline in vaccine uptake can lead to a rise in cases. As international travel resumes, it is more likely that measles will be brought in from countries that have higher levels of the disease and so it is important that we recover MMR vaccination rates to help prevent a rise in cases.
Parents who are unsure if their child is up-to-date with all their routine vaccinations, should check their child’s Red Book, or the new online e-Redbook.
If unclear, GP practices are able to carry out checks and book appointments if required. If the MMR vaccines have been missed during infancy, please speak to your GP as they can be given at any age.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health, said: “I want to encourage all of our parents across Croydon to make sure their children are up-to-date with their immunisations. It is particularly important to be aware that there is no upper age limit for the MMR vaccination, and you can have your child immunised at any time.
“In Croydon, the uptake for the MMR vaccination is significantly lower than the 95% target. Measles, mumps and rubella can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain, so providing your child with this vaccine will give them the best possible protection.
“The vaccine is safe to give to your child. If you’re at all worried about it, I would encourage you to seek advice from your GP or health visitor.”
Visit the NHS MMR page to find out more information.