26/04/2013 - Permalink

Shropshire public health supports national catch-up campaign to increase MMR vaccination

Related topics: Community / Health / Partner organisations
Image courtesy of Public Health England

Image courtesy of Public Health England

Shropshire Council’s public health team, along with Shropshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is supporting a national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers.

The national catch-up programme announced on Thursday 25 April 2013 by Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health, aims to prevent measles outbreaks by vaccinating as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible in time for the next school year.

Experts believe the rise in measles cases can be mostly attributed to the proportion of unprotected 10-16 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. After many years of low vaccination uptake, measles became re-established in 2007.

Shropshire has seen an increase in cases of measles, in particular in the north west of the county who have seen a small cluster of cases linked to communities living around the border with Wales.

Shropshire Council’s Public Health department along with the CCG continues to work closely with Public Health England, local GPs, and the Powys Health Board to monitor the situation and to promote access to the MMR vaccine.

The catch-up programme announced today sets out a national framework within which local teams in the West Midlands (made up of NHS Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire; Birmingham and the Black Country; and Shropshire and Staffordshire), working alongside Directors of Public Health in Local Government and supported by the West Midlands PHE Centre, will produce tailored local plans to identify and give MMR to un-vaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds through GPs and/or school programmes.

Measles is at its highest level for the past 18 years. The only way to prevent measles outbreaks is to make sure there is good uptake of the MMR vaccine across all ages.

Dr Irfan Ghani, consultant for public health at Shropshire Council said;

“Shropshire’s Public Health department are committed to reducing the spread of measles in Shropshire. We are working closely with Public Health England and our partners and will be supporting this campaign on a local level whilst continuing to encourage parents of younger children to ensure their child is vaccinated.”

Dr Caron Morton, accountable officer for Shropshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added;

“Shropshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group is urging any parent who has not had their child immunised to contact their GP practice and make an appointment at the earliest opportunity. We are fully supportive of Public Health England catch-up programme as children of any age, including teenagers and young adults, can still be vaccinated if they missed out on immunisation when they were younger. It is never too late to have this done.”

Parents are reminded to check their child’s immunisation history and ensure this is up to date and that you have written proof that your child is up to date with their MMR vaccines (for example in their child health record book). If you are unsure you can check with your local GP practice . If they are not, please arrange for this to be undertaken at your GP practice as soon as possible.

For more information about measles visit the NHS Choices website at:      http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Measles/Pages/Introduction.aspx

To support the national programme, a new Facebook page has been launched (www.facebook.com/getvaccinatedEngland) in conjunction with NHS Choices.

Notes to Editors

  • New figures published today by Public Health England (PHE) show high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England in the first three months of 2013, reaching 587 by end of March, following a record annual high of almost 2,000 cases in 2012. In line with trends across the country, the number of cases of measles has continued to rise in the West Midlands. During the first three months of 2013, 13 cases were confirmed following a total of 127 cases in 2012.
  • More information on the MMR catch-up programme will be available on the PHE website from Thursday 25 April:
  • For more information on measles and MMR, please visit: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Measles/measles/MMR
  • Public Health England is a new executive agency of the Department of Health that took up its full responsibilities on 1 April, 2013. PHE works with national and local government, industry and the NHS to protect and improve the nation’s health and support healthier choices and will be addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health.
  • To find out more visit the website (www.gov.uk/phe) or you can follow on Twitter @PHE_uk.