Sefton Council Encourages Parents to Update Children's Vaccinations Amidst Measles Outbreak


Following the declaration of a national incident in response to a number of measles outbreaks, Sefton Council is urging parents and guardians to ensure that children are up to date with their vaccinations.

Likely to spread rapidly
Over 200 cases of  measles have been confirmed in Birmingham and the West Midlands in recent months. A senior UK health official has warned the disease is likely to spread rapidly across more parts of the country unless more people take up the vaccine.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has launched a new national campaign to encourage take up of the MMR vaccine.

Easy-to-catch disease
Measles is a highly infectious disease and is particularly easy to catch when in close contact with others. It can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness, encephalitis and convulsions and on rare occasions, long-term disability or death.

A high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash are among the symptoms of measles.

You can find out more about measles from the NHS.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provides protection from measles infection.

Children are offered the first dose of the MMR vaccine when aged one year and the second dose aged around 3 years 4 months, before they start school. But you can protect yourself by getting the MMR vaccine for free from the NHS whatever your age.

Easy to catch
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Measles is easy to catch and therefore spreads quickly although it is easy to prevent too with a simple MMR vaccination.

“And the good news is it’s never too late to have one, even if you missed it as a child.”

Parents and guardians can find out whether their child is up to date with their vaccinations by checking their personal child health record (PCHR), also known as the red book, or contacting their GP.

Alternatives available
Mrs Jones continued: “I know some people have expressed concerns that the MMR contains pork ingredients which are used to ensure it remains safe and effective during storage.  However, there are a number of pork-free alternatives available.

“If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, they should contact their GP practice to book an appointment and also state if they have concerns about the vaccine used.

“Anyone who thinks they may have measles should stay at home and contact NHS 111 for advice, to help avoid spreading infections.”

The Government's Department for Education has also produced a guide on What to do if you think your child has measles and when to keep them off school.

You can use this link to find a leaflet on the Government website explaining the MMR vaccination. 

There are translations into Bengali, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Ukrainian and Yoruba.

Blog - ‘Let’s make measles history’
Professor Louise Kenny CBE, who is Executive Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool, has recently published an account of her experience of treating a young boy who caught measles when he was a baby and sadly did not survive.