Urgent call for people to get MMR jabs - as a quarter of children in Peterborough don't have vaccination

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Peterborough has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

An urgent call has been put out for Peterborough residents who have not received their MMR vaccine to get the jab.

A quarter of children had not received the vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, by the time they were five – one of the lowest rates in the country.

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Peterborough ranks 127th out of 150 authorities for people who have the vital protection against the illnesses – while 75.7 per cent of children in Peterborough had received the two jabs by the time they were five, in East Riding of Yorkshire, the figure stood at 94.4 per cent.

People are urged to make sure they are up to date with the MMR jabsPeople are urged to make sure they are up to date with the MMR jabs
People are urged to make sure they are up to date with the MMR jabs

While there have been no recent cases of measles in Peterborough, there has been outbreaks elsewhere in the country, particularly in the West Midlands – and now people are being urged to make sure they, and their children, are protected.

Anna Starling, senior public health registrar in Peterborough, said: “Although there have been no confirmed cases in Peterborough, we do want to increase the vaccination rate.

"Measles is a highly infectious disease, and can be very serious for children, those who are immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) or who are pregnant.

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"Children and young adults who have not had the vaccine should get it as soon as possible. More than 99 per cent of people who have had the two doses will be protected.

"It is really important to get the vaccination. Since COVID we have seen a drop in people having the vaccine.

"We are working with the NHS, early years, schools and universities to raise awareness. There are those among the 18-25 age group that may not have been vaccinated.

"If anyone is concerned, and has not had the vaccine, they should contact their GP, especially if you are immunocompromised or pregnant and think you may have come into contact with someone who has measles.”

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Complications from measles, mumps and rubella can be potentially life changing including blindness, deafness and swelling of the brain (encephalitis).

Analysis shows one infected child in a classroom can infect up to nine other unvaccinated children, making it one of the most infectious diseases worldwide

Outreach sessions being held in Peterborough over the next month

A number of outreach sessions are being held across Cambridgeshire over the next month, where walk in vaccines are available. Sessions will be held at The Fleet in Fletton between 9am and 3pm on February 10, February 19 and March 9.

Sessions will also be held at Gladstone Child and Family Zone, 290 Gladstone Street, on February 7 between 1 and 4.30pm, and at the Orton Child and Family Centre, 74 Herlington, Orton Malborne on March 9 between 1pm and 4.30pm.

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Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, UK Health Security Agency Consultant Medical Epidemiologist said: “The continuing downward trend in the uptake of routine childhood vaccinations is a serious concern. The diseases that these vaccines protect against, such as measles, can be life-changing and even deadly. No parent wants this for their child especially when these diseases are easily preventable.

“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”.

Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “Measles is a serious but entirely preventable disease.

“The MMR vaccine is proven to be safe for youngsters and offers lifelong protection.

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“I’m urging everyone whose child is not yet fully vaccinated to come forward and get them protected as soon as possible”.

What are the symptoms of measles:

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System has provided this descriptions of measles symptoms:

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.

Flu-like symptoms

The first symptoms of measles include:

a high temperature

a runny or blocked nose

sneezing

a cough

red, sore, watery eyes

People who have measles may get white spots on the inside of their cheeks and on the back of their lips, a few days after they develop flu symptoms. These spots usually go away after a few days.

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Measles will usually cause a rash a few days after the cold- or flu-like symptoms start. The rash tends to start on the face and behind the ears, before spreading to the rest of the body. Spots of the measles rash may be raised and join together to form blotchy patches. The rash is not usually itchy.

On white skin, the measles rash looks brown or red. If you have brown or black skin, it can be harder to see the rash. You can find photos of what measles rash usually looks like on the NHS website.

What to do if you think you or your child has measles

If you think you or your child may have measles, you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you've not had measles before or you've not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine or you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system, you should ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111.

You should call 999 or go to A&E if you or your child has measles and shortness of breath, a high temperature that does not come down after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, confusion or seizures.

For more information visit https://www.cpics.org.uk/measles

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