Children Should Have MMR Vaccination

Your local NHS is urging parents who have been asked to take their child for their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination to book an appointment with their GP surgery to get both doses to protect their children.

There were 14 confirmed cases of rubella across Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight between January and July this year, compared with zero over the same period in 2011, and 36 confirmed cases of mumps.

Dr Ruth Milton, Director of Public Health for Hampshire, on behalf of the Directors of Public Health for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Primary Care Trust (SHIP PCT) Cluster, said:

"The uptake for MMR1 should be even better but we are most concerned about the MMR2 (the preschool booster given after your child is 3).

"We need to give 95% of our children this booster to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect children from measles, mumps and rubella. Every child requires two doses of the vaccine to protect them from all three diseases. The first dose is given at one year of age and the second before they start school.

"When we reach the 95% target, we have herd immunity - where enough of the population is immunised to protect those that aren't. Parents have a really important role to play in this by making sure they get their children vaccinated when sent reminder letters by their GP practice.

"All these infections are preventable but can be dangerous and cause complications such as pneumonia and brain damage. Mumps can result in meningitis and encephalitis. Rubella in pregnancy can lead to congenital rubella syndrome and rubella associated miscarriages."

All families should be aware of the importance of MMR vaccine and all the other childhood vaccinations. Parents and carers should speak with their Health Visitor for advice and information about vaccinations.

They should arrange for their child to be vaccinated at their local surgery.. By doing this the parent and carer can be reassured that they are providing their child with the best start for school life.