UK steps up MMR campaign amid measles outbreak

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

June 3rd, 2011

Gary Finnegan

‘Health authorities in the UK are urging parents to vaccinate their children after a tenfold increase in measles cases. ’

Measles-fighting-a-resurgence-enemyWith the on its doorstep, officials in London are particularly concerned at the prospect of further outbreaks in the UK as the number of young people travelling between France and Britain increases during the summer months.

A BBC report implies teenagers travelling through Europe, who missed out on the MMR vaccine in the 1990s, could be contributing to the spread of the disease.

Mary Ramsey, head of immunisation at the UK’s Health Protection Agency, told BBC radio that teenagers should consider being vaccinated whether they are planning to visit continental Europe or not.

The UK has had 300 new cases this year, which she said is not historically a very high number, but represents a 10-fold increase on last year. France, meanwhile, has recorded thousands of new cases.

“It’s not too late. If you haven’t been vaccinated and haven’t had the measles you will still be at risk. There’s no age limit. Two doses are needed for full protection,” Dr Ramsey said.

BBC television has also run a series of news stories highlighting the risk of not being vaccinated. One such report focuses on the guilt of parents who decided against vaccination, only for their child to develop a serious case of measles.

Focus on vaccination rates

The upsurge in measles cases in Europe has turned the spotlight on vaccination rates, with The Guardian newspaper publishing a comprehensive table illustrating immunisation coverage across the UK.

It reveals stark geographic differences in MMR uptake, but also major disparities in the numbers vaccinated against measles compared with the much higher immunisation rate for polio.

Brent, in London, has the worst immunisation rates for MMR with just 34% of children have had both jabs by their fifth birthday. Other London boroughs – Hackney, Haringey and Barking – are the next lowest.

By contrast, 91.5% of five-year-olds in Barnsley, Yorkshire, have had their two doses of MMR vaccine.

While the MMR figures are worrying at a time when measles is on the rise, vaccine coverage is much better for other diseases. First vaccinations for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are consistently over 90% across the UK.


  1. mowlid


    May 3rd, 2012

    I am intersting to know mmr for adult. Why is important for an adult person to take? will this mmr help me for geting pregnat.

    • Gary Finnegan

      Gary Finnegan

      May 7th, 2012

      The best advice is to ask your doctor. You might also like to read this article about rubella which can cause serious damage to unborn babies if the mother is affected.