Kent GP Julian Spinks welcomes MMR vaccination campaign
Dr Julian Spinks at his
A Kent GP has welcomed a mass vaccination of schoolchildren in a
bid to stop a measles outbreak spreading to the county.
The move to protect those aged 10-16 is part of a national drive
in the wake of the outbreak in the Swansea area of Wales.
The so-called catch-up programme comes as new figures
are published today by Public Health England (PHE),
showing high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England in
the first three months of 2013.
They reached 587 by end of March, following a record annual
high of almost 2,000 cases in 2012.
This is despite the highest ever national MMR vaccination level
in England, with 90 per cent of five-year-olds getting two
doses of the vaccination.
Now Strood GP Dr Julian Spinks has called for parents to come
forward to make sure their children are properly protected.
He said: "I think people shouldn't panic at the moment. We've
not got an outbreak locally.
The measles vaccination
campaign starts today
"However, there's concern that it is all too easy for the
problem to spread from Wales to the rest of the country.
"Because we've got at least a quarter of children needing at
least one MMR vaccination, there's a danger we could get an
It's believed the outbreak in Wales was down to a particularly
high level of non take-up in the area.
It came after a so-called expert - now discredited - created an
apparent link between autism and the vaccine.
Dr Spinks said he welcomed the national campaign.
He added: "It will help us identify the teenage children who are
particularly at risk because they haven't received the MMR vaccine,
but I would also encourage other people if they have got children
who have missed out that perhaps they should talk to their GP to
see if they can get caught up as well."
The MMR vaccine
The catch-up programme announced today involves local health
teams working together to identify and give MMR to unvaccinated and
partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds through GPs and school
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “Measles is a
potentially fatal but entirely preventable disease so we are very
disappointed that measles cases have recently increased in
"The catch-up programme set out today recommends an approach to
specifically target those young people most at risk.
"Those who have not been vaccinated should urgently seek at
least one dose of MMR vaccination which will give them 95 per cent
protection against measles.
"A second dose is then needed to provide almost complete
Parents in Medway were behind the campaign when quizzed.
Rhian Langridge, 40, of Strood, said: "“My son has had the MMR,
I believe the professionals when they do say it is important.”
“I think people should go and get it done, there has been too
much on the news of people getting measles, which is
Emma Hisee, 28, of Medway, (pictured right, with
sunglasses) said: "My daughter has only had her first lot of the
MMR jab as she is too young but she will be getting the next lot
"I not concerned because I’m getting her vaccinations done.
“I do think it’s important because the benefits of having it
done outweigh the risks. All my friends have older babies have had
Shelley Revell, 37, Rochester, said he son had had the MMR
vaccine when he was 12 months old.
She added: "It was important that he has it because measles
could leave a child handicapped.
“I think two of my friends haven’t had it done and their reason
was because they believe it brings on autism in later life, but
that has never been proved.”
Sarah Patterson, 35, of Strood, was also in favour of the
She said: “My son has had the MMR jab and my daughter will when
she is old enough.
"I think it is very important to protect them against the
effects of diseases like measles.”
But, speaking before the programme was launched, one mum said
she was not going to get her son protected.
Natasha Harding, of Kings Hill, said Zak had good immunity, and
she believed it was a minor disease that he would recover from
She said of the decision to avoid the vaccination for her
six-year-old son: "It was a decision that took a lot of thinking
and a lot of research.
"It certainly wasn't something I went into lightly."
The failure of ex-PM Tony Blair to confirm if his son Leo had
had the jab, and the fear of autism had led to the decision.
- Click here for more news from across the county...