Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Professor Matt Ashton, writes about why you should protect your loved ones against measles, which is one of the most infectious diseases in the world.
There is a large outbreak in Birmingham and Coventry mainly affecting children under 10 years old. Many children have needed to be admitted to hospital.
Liverpool has been free from measles for several years, and as Director of Public Health, I am concerned it could easily spread around the country and end up in Liverpool. We want to make sure that parents have everything they need to know about measles and MMR vaccinations, so that they feel confident to protect their child.
The vaccine has been around for years. If you are not vaccinated, you are not protected from measles. Children are offered the first dose of MMR vaccine just after their first birthday and a second dose before they start school. Two doses of vaccine are needed for full protection and protection lasts for life. If a child has missed a vaccine, it’s never too late to get vaccinated.
Vaccination rates in Liverpool have been excellent in the past with the vast majority of families taking up the vaccine for their child. In recent years, the uptake of vaccination has dropped. Mostly this is due to all of the disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some parents have said they feel they need more information about why they should get their child vaccinated. Because the MMR vaccination programme has been so successful, parents do not see cases of measles in their community and do not worry about the risk of their child catching measles. Measles cases have become rare since 1988 when the MMR vaccine was introduced.
Parents also want to know whether vaccines are safe for their child and whether there are any side-effects they need to consider. Some worry about whether there is a link between vaccination and autism. Many studies have taken place to look at the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccine. The evidence is clear. The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against measles, mumps and rubella. There is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.
WATCH: Why the MMR vaccine is safe for children
How to protect yourself and your children from measles
There is a simple, easy, safe and very effective way of protecting yourself from measles – the MMR vaccine. You can get it on the NHS for free from your GP practice.
Book a vaccine now
If your child’s vaccines are not up to date, book at the GP practice. Check your child’s Red Book if you are not sure, or call the GP practice.