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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Swale parents urged to protect children against measles

21 May 2013
by Andy Gray
Families of children who may have missed out on their measles jabs are being urged to make sure the youngsters are protected against the disease.
GP practices across Swale are currently contacting families of patients aged 10 to 16 whose health records show they missed out on vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
The action follows the launch of a campaign to immunise one million children and teenagers across the country after a national increase in measles cases.
Experts believe the rise can be mostly attributed to the proportion of unprotected 10 to 16-year-olds, who missed out on vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s when concern around the discredited link between autism and the vaccine was widespread. 
The low vaccination uptake over many years meant measles became re-established in 2007.
The first MMR immunisation is given to children between the ages of 12 and 13 months. 
The second dose should be given once they are three years four months and before they are five, or before they start school.
Dr Fiona Armstrong, chair of the NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group which plans and buys healthcare for the borough, said: “Measles is not a mild illness and is extremely infectious. It is very unpleasant and can lead to children becoming very seriously ill, and in very rare cases, to their death.
“Children, teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated at all against MMR should urgently seek at least one dose which will give them 95 per cent protection against measles. A second dose is then needed for almost complete protection.
“Although GPs will be contacting families direct, I would urge any parents who think their child may not have had both vaccinations to check their red book, which has the child’s vaccination record or, if they cannot find that, to contact their GP practice.
“Now is the time to catch up on missed vaccinations and ensure their children are protected now and into the future.
“More than 100 children in England have been hospitalised with measles so far this year – make sure you give your child the very best protection you can.”


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