Measles: Vaccination Reminder

Doctors are telling Heart if you haven't got your kids vaccinated against measles you need to do it as soon as possible.

They are asking parents to make sure children have received two doses of the MMR vaccine in the run up to the summer holidays.

The vaccination is available through GP surgeries. The NHS says that to be fully protected, children need to have two doses, with the first administerd at around 12 months and the second at the age of three as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme. However, they say that if your child has missed a dose, it is never too late to catch up.

Dr Alistair Lipp, director of public health at NHS Great Yarmoht and Waveney, said: "It is really important for parents to make sure their children have received this vaccination as measles is a highly infectious virus which spreads very easily.

It is also a serious illness which can leave patients with permanent complications such as brain damage and, in some cases, can be fatal. The only way to ensure your children are protected is to get them immunised with two doses of the vaccine.

Our message to parents is simple - it's never too late to get your child vaccinated, so please do book an appointment at your local surgery and make sure your children are protected against this potentially deadly illness."

The joint director of public health for NHS Norfolk and Norfolk County Council, Jenny Harries, said: "Rates of measles infection are currently very high in France and other European countries.

We therefore have a very important window of opportunity for parents here to have their children vaccinated before the summer holidays. We cannot stress enough the importance of speaking to your GP if your children have not had the appropriate MMR jabs. It is never too late."

Symptoms of measles may include a fever, cough, red eyes and blocked nose. A blotchy rash appears a few days later, beginning on the face and spreading to the rest of the body over several days.

People are usually infectious from the day before their first symptoms until four to five days after the appearance of the rash.

The advice is that any parent who suspects their child has measles should keep them away from school or nursery and contact their GP.