Call for all parents in Wales to urgently check their children’s MMR vaccination status amid rising concerns over measles
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer – Sir Frank Atherton – is calling on parents to ensure their children are fully vaccinated against measles and are up to date with their other childhood immunisations.
Outbreaks of measles could become more frequent in Wales unless urgent action is taken to increase Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination across the country.
Sir Frank is warning that it is essential that uptake of a full course (2 doses) of the MMR vaccine is increased to 95%, the target set by the World Health Organisation, to protect Welsh communities from a potentially devastating outbreak.
Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. Children who contract the disease can become very unwell and, in some cases, measles can lead to hospitalisation and in rare cases, tragically death.
People in certain at-risk groups including babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of complications from measles.
MMR is part of the Routine Childhood Immunisation Programme – with one dose offered when a child is one year old and another second dose at 3 years 4 months.
Parents whose infants missed out, or anyone of any age who has not yet had a vaccine, are urged to come forward. The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella.
With whooping cough cases also on the rise in Wales, Sir Frank is encouraging all pregnant women and parents of young babies and children to ensure they’ve had their pertussis (whooping cough) vaccinations.
Although whooping cough is a vaccine preventable disease, it is highly contagious, with babies under 6 months being the most at risk.
Sir Frank yesterday said:
We need to ensure that those at risk in our communities are protected against potentially life-threatening viral infections like measles and whooping cough.
Measles can cause children to become very ill and some who contract it will suffer life changing complications. Parents can protect their children by checking they are fully vaccinated and where they are not, arranging for vaccination as soon as possible.
Babies under the age of one, cannot receive the vaccine. It is therefore essential that all those who are eligible, are fully vaccinated. This will help stop the spread of measles and will help protect our youngest children.”
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Chris Jones has written to all health boards asking them to take urgent action to ensure at least 90% of students in every school in Wales is fully vaccinated by 31 July 2024. This targeted intervention will complement MMR catch-up work already being undertaken by health boards.
Dr Jones yesterday said:
In the event of an outbreak, students and staff who are unvaccinated or under vaccinated could be asked to isolate for up to 21 days to stop the spread of this very virulent disease.
We know how disruptive this can be to the education and wellbeing of our young people and we must do everything possible to avoid it.
Public Health Wales, the NHS and the Welsh Government will be working closely on further plans to boost MMR uptake levels in the coming months.
Latest News from
“This Budget is designed to protect the core services we all rely on”– Finance Minister Rebecca Evans27/02/2024 14:05:00
Wales’ Final Budget for 2024 to 2025 has been published today, as persistently high inflation continues to erode public finances and difficult choices are made to protect core services.
£5.9 million of Welsh Government support given to businesses investing in research and innovation27/02/2024 11:05:00
Over fifty projects have been given £5.9 million of support from the Welsh Government to invest in equipment that will help develop and embed new innovative products and services.
Youth Work Excellence Awards: Winners announced27/02/2024 09:05:00
The Youth Work Excellence Awards are a chance to recognise and celebrate the outstanding youth work taking place across Wales.
Improvements in eating disorder care across Wales26/02/2024 14:05:00
The vast majority of people who need treatment for an eating disorder are seen in Wales and treated in their local communities.
Welsh Government helping to make children veg chomp-ions23/02/2024 14:05:00
Eat Them to Defeat them returns for its sixth year, to make veg fun, improve diets and increase children’s intake of vegetables by chomping away.
First Minister announces St David Awards 2024 finalists23/02/2024 10:15:00
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the finalists of this year’s St David Awards at an event at the Senedd.
Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – December 2023 and January 202422/02/2024 15:15:00
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today.
Keeping Farmers Farming. Make sure we know your views - we are listening22/02/2024 14:20:00
As the consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme enters its final two weeks the Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths is urging people to take part in the consultation and make sure their views are heard.
More than £14m to improve emergency department at the Grange hospital22/02/2024 13:20:00
More than £14 million is being invested by the Welsh Government to extend and reconfigure parts of the Grange University Hospital emergency department, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has officially announced.
‘We must improve education around menstrual cycles in schools’ vows Deputy Minister for Social Partnership22/02/2024 11:05:00
‘More must be done to improving education around menstrual cycles if we are going to tackle period dignity in schools,’ Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has vowed.