Health bosses across Cumbria are encouraging parents to make sure their child is up to date with their vaccinations. It comes as a new national campaign launches to help drive the uptake of MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccines amongst children.
Nationally the uptake has been falling and while Cumbria’s uptake is ahead of the national figures health bosses are keen to reiterate the importance of the MMR vaccines for children.
Kerry Foot is the school Immunisation lead for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust. She said: “The campaign by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) encourages parents with children aged 0 to 5 to attend their routine MMR vaccines in order to help give their child, and children around them, the best possible protection against measles, mumps and rubella.”
All children are invited for their first MMR vaccine when they are one-year-old and for their second dose when they are three years and four months old.
“In Cumbria uptake is good but the data is showing that uptake could be falling this year. Last year the uptake for the first MMR dose was 97.8% and dose two is 95.3%. The Q1 and Q2 data published for 21/22 has so far remained the same for dose 1 with a 97% uptake rate with our under 5 population, with a slight drop in dose 2 with 93%.”
Dr Raj Verma, Consultant Pediatrician and Associate Medical Director for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust, said:
“Even a slight decrease in these vaccinations is something we take very seriously. We know the diseases that these vaccines prevent have not gone away. These diseases pose a serious threat to children, if children remain unvaccinated then these deadly diseases have an opportunity to re-emerge. The MMR jab is a proven and safe vaccine to give your child. If you’re at all worried about the MMR jab I would encourage you to seek advice from your Health Visitor or GP.”
Helen Horton is a GP Lead at NHS North Cumbria CCG. She said: “The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella – all of which can be very serious diseases and are highly infectious.
“Your child will have the MMR vaccine in two doses, the first usually between 12 and 13 months, and then the second at 3 years 4 months. Although normally given at these times, if it's missed, it can be given at any age. Young people who haven’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine as a child should contact their GP about getting their free vaccine.”
Parents are reminded that the NHS remains open and they should make sure their children are up to date with their vaccines and catch up as soon as possible if not.