A doctor has urged parents to book their children’s MMR vaccine appointments, branding the recent drop a ‘serious concern’.
The advice comes amid escalating fears of a nationwide measles outbreak, with cases having shot up in the West Midlands.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) officials last week declared the situation a ‘national incident’, warning that too few youngsters were protected against the potentially deadly virus.
Millions of parents in England are now being encouraged by the NHS to make sure their children are fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella.
Letters have been sent to parents of six to 11-year-olds in England urging them to make an appointment with their GP if their child has not had both doses.
Health chiefs have also issued reminders to 1million people aged 11 to 25 in London and the West Midlands, the two epicentres of the outbreak, encouraging them to get jabbed if they have not already done so.
But how can you find out if your child is fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella? Read on to find out more.
A doctor has urged parents to ensure their children have both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, labelling the recent downturn in childhood vaccinations as a ‘serious concern’ (stock image)
Why should your child be vaccinated against MMR?
Parents should make sure their children are protected against MMR because these diseases can be ‘life changing and ‘even deadly’, according to Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant medical epidemiologist at the UKHSA.
She added: ‘No parent wants this for their child especially when these diseases are easily preventable.’
Dr Amirthalingam branded the recent downward turn in vaccinations against these diseases as a ‘serious concern’.
‘We now have a very real risk of measles outbreaks across the country.
‘Please don’t put this off, check now that your children are fully up to date with both their MMR jabs and all their routine vaccines, and do take up the offer as soon as possible if you are contacted by your GP practice or the NHS for your child to catch up.’
According to the NHS vaccination schedule, children usually have their first MMR vaccine at the age of one.
The second is usually scheduled when they are around 3 years and 4 months.
According to the NHS, it is important to be protected against measles, mumps and rubella because the trio of illnesses can cause serious complications, such as meningitis, hearing loss and issues during pregnancy.
The consequences of these diseases can be ‘life changing’ and ‘deadly’, potentially resulting in hearing loss, problems during pregnancy and meningitis (stock image)
If you are unsure if your child’s vaccines are up to date you should contact your GP as soon as possible to ensure your child is protected (stock image)
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How can I check if my child is fully vaccinated?
If you believe your child is due a vaccination, it is best to contact your GP and book an appointment as soon as possible.
Your GP surgery will also usually get in contact via phone call, text, letter or email if your youngster is due their jabs.
If your child is not up-to-date on their jabs, you may be notified via letter from the Child Health Information Service.
Additionally, if you are unsure if your child has missed a vaccine appointment, then you should contact your GP.
Vaccination records may be available to access online or through the NHS app.
But it’s not only children who need to check their vaccination status.
Older children and adults should be ensuring they have all of their vaccinations, including both doses of the MMR jab.
This is especially important if you are considering travelling, thinking about expanding your family, wanting to jet off to college or university, according to the NHS.
You can find your local School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS) provider here.