NHS Lothian urging parents to protect their children from measles mumps and rubella

NHS Lothian has written to the parents of all children and young people aged between 10 and 17 in Lothian who are not fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) to invite them to bring their child for vaccination.

Health records show that, across Lothian, around 9,000 children and young people in this age group have not started or completed the MMR vaccination. Two doses of the vaccine are required to provide full protection. NHS Lothian is running a catch up campaign for this age group following the recent outbreak of measles in Wales and England.

Lothian traditionally has very high rates of uptake for the vaccine which is usually given as part of the childhood vaccination schedule. However, uptake rates amongst 10 to 17 year olds in some parts of Lothian have been lower.

Measles is a very infectious virus that causes a fever, cough and rash but can also cause serious problems including blindness and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Letters have been sent to parents this week inviting them to make an appointment for their child at their GP surgery to receive the vaccination.

Professor Alison McCallum, the Director of Public Health and Health Policy at NHS Lothian, said:  “Measles, mumps, and rubella are preventable by two doses of the MMR vaccine. I would encourage parents and young people to take up this invitation and ensure that all children and young people are fully protected from these three diseases.”

For more information visit NHS Inform (www.nhsinform.co.uk) or speak to your GP.

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Notes to Editors:

·         The MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988 and protects against all three diseases. It is highly effective and there is no age restriction on receiving the vaccine.  If people are not sure whether they have had one or two doses, there is no harm in having an extra one.

11/06/2013