Measles outbreaks in Europe prompt call to vaccinate children

Parents urged to ensure those who have missed MMR vaccine receive it before they travel

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Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, following outbreaks of measles across Europe.

The appeal comes on the same day new figures reveal there were 231 confirmed cases of measles and 795 mumps cases in the UK in the first three months of 2019.

‘One child missing their vaccine is one too many’

Public Health England (PHE) data show that while the number of measles cases was lower than the 265 recorded during the same period last year, it was more than double the 97 reported from October to December.

Mumps cases nearly tripled to 795 from 275 during the same period last year. There were no new cases of rubella reported.

PHE urged parents to make sure their children receive the MMR vaccine when offered it, or take it up now if they have missed it.

Head of immunisation Mary Ramsay warned that with measles outbreaks across parts of Europe, families should make sure they are vaccinated before they travel.

She added: ‘Even one child missing their vaccine is one too many – if you are in any doubt about your child’s vaccination status, ask your GP as it’s never too late to get protected.’

More time to educate families

Nurses at RCN congress this week said more time spent educating families, rather than mandatory vaccinations, is what is needed to help dispel myths about vaccinations. Most speakers in an emergency debate on mandatory vaccinations for pre-school children rejected the idea.

Marie-Therese Massey, from the general practice nursing forum, highlighted the importance of spending time with families to explain the importance of vaccines.

She told the Liverpool audience: ‘If people come to you and say, well I’ve decided to not have our vaccination until after he’s learnt to talk – that isn’t a one or two-minute conversation; that’s a long conversation and it might mean a number of visits.’

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