MMR Vaccination

On 1st February 2022 the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) supported by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the NHS are launching a new campaign encouraging parents and guardians of children aged 1 to 5 years to check that their children’s MMR vaccines are up to date and encourage those that may have missed their appointments during the pandemic to come forward.

Uptake of most routine childhood vaccinations has been declining over the past 5 to 10 years, a problem which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coverage for the two doses of the MMR vaccine in 5-year-old children in England is well below the 95% WHO target needed to achieve and sustain measles elimination.

It is extremely important that all babies and children receive their routine vaccinations at the right time in order to give them the best start in life. Diseases like smallpox and polio have been eradicated in England thanks to vaccines. The MMR vaccine protects against three infections: measles, mumps and rubella. These are viral infections that can quickly spread to non-immune children and adults who are unvaccinated or have not previously been infected.

With around 1 in 10 children unvaccinated and unprotected against MMR, and because measles is so infectious, even small drops in MMR coverage can have a big impact on population immunity and mean leaves us vulnerable to importations and outbreaks. Which is why recovering uptake and catching up children who missed out on their MMR is a public health priority.

Measles can infect around 9 out of 10 non-immune (those who are unvaccinated or have not previously been infected with the measles virus) people exposed to it and can lead to serious complications. Anyone who hasn’t has two doses of the MMR vaccine and has not had measles in the past can catch it. The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way for parents to protect their children against measles, mumps and rubella.

Now, parents and guardians are being encouraged to ensure their children are vaccinated against MMR, and if they can’t remember if their child is up to date to check his or her Red Book (personal child health record).

Routine vaccinations are offered for free on the NHS to all babies and children and millions of doses have been given safely in the UK and around the world.

All vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety and are continually monitored after they are introduced. While COVID-19 is in circulation, GP practices will have measures in place to keep parents/guardians and their children safe.

Parents or guardians of children who are not up to date with their two doses of MMR vaccine should contact their GP practice to book an appointment. It’s never too late to catch up. Protect your child with both MMR vaccines. Contact your GP practice to book their first or second dose.

Find out more at nhs.uk/MMR