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MMR vaccine push during holiday season as new academic year approaches

Parents are being urged to make sure their children’s MMR vaccinations are up to date ahead of the new school year.

MMR stands for measles, mumps and rubella. All three are highly infectious conditions. An increase in cases in England, together with a dip in vaccination uptake, is causing concern.

A particular worry is that some unvaccinated children may have caught measles, mumps or rubella during the school holidays in some countries where the conditions are more prevalent and spread them to unvaccinated schoolmates once the new school year starts.

Dr Lorna Clarson of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board said: “This has the potential to seriously disrupt the start of the school year for some parents.

“Anyone who’s been in contact with a person with measles but hasn’t had any doses of the MMR vaccine will be excluded from nursery, school, college or work for 21 days – the time it can take for measles symptoms to show while still being infectious.

“The MMR vaccine is highly effective and safe and gives high levels of protection. Measles in particular, can lead to serious complications including meningitis and hearing loss. Before vaccination started in the 1960s it was responsible for around 100 deaths per year in the UK.”

Children are offered the first dose of the MMR vaccine around their first birthday and the second dose at three years and four months old. However it is never too late for anyone to catch-up and you should speak to your GP practice if you or your child is not fully vaccinated.

Dr Clarson added: “This applies to adults too and especially if you are a young adult about to go to college or university for the first time where you will mix with many new people. If you’re not sure what vaccinations you’ve had, check with your GP practice and they will let you know.”

You can find out more about MMR vaccine on the NHS website. It’s also the place where you can find out more about measles, mumps and rubella.

General travel guidance and country-specific information is available on the UK Health Security Agency website.


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