Health leaders urge people to get measles vaccine as cases rise in North Yorkshire
Last updated Jan 31, 2024

Health leaders have urged North Yorkshire people to get vaccinated against measles after a rise in cases locally.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab is given in two doses to young children and babies. The first is administered at just 12 months, followed by a second at around three or four years old, before starting school.

However, the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, which is responsible for meeting health needs and managing NHS spend locally, said in a press release today about one in 10 children in our area were at risk of measles because they have not had both doses of the vaccine by the age of five.

This means there will be three children who are not fully vaccinated in the average reception class, it added.

Louise Wallace, director of public health at North Yorkshire Council, said:

“Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. It can be a very unpleasant illness and, in some children, can be very serious, leading to hospitalisation and tragically even death in rare cases.

“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.”

The ICB also said vaccination rates were “significantly lower” among gypsy and traveller communities, recent migrants and university students in York and North Yorkshire.

More than 99% of people who have two doses of the MMR vaccine will be protected against measles and rubella, the press release said, adding the vaccine also provided protection against mumps, which can be “very painful with complications including inflammation of the ovaries, testicles and, in rare cases, the pancreas”.

Reminders have been sent to parents and guardians with children aged one to five who are missing either their first or second MMR vaccination.

The ICB is now expanding this reminder to parents of children aged six to 11-years-old, who also require either one or both doses of the vaccination.

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