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Get protected against measles for life

Residents are urged to check that they and their families are up-to-date with their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines in Cheshire West and Chester.

Young children are offered the vaccine by their GP as part of the UK national vaccination programme.

They are offered two doses of the vaccine – the first following their first birthday and the second before they start school, when they are around three years and four months old.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine gives protection against the diseases for life, and it is never too late to have the vaccine. Older children, young people and adults can receive catch-up vaccinations at any point.

Professor Helen Bromley, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:

“Measles is a highly contagious illness which can lead to complications like ear infections, pneumonia and inflammation of the brain.

“In some cases, people with measles may need to be admitted to hospital and, on rare occasions, the complications can lead to long-term disability or death.

“Two doses of the MMR vaccine can protect you for life and, although it’s routinely offered to young children before they start school, it’s never too late to get your vaccines. You can contact your GP to book an appointment if you’re not up-to-date.”

MMR vaccination rates are showing a steady decline both nationally and locally.

In Cheshire West and Chester, based on figures up to the end of 2023, approximately 90% of children aged five have completed their MMR vaccination course.

This is well below the required level of at least 95% coverage set by the World Health Organisation to help eliminate measles.

Cllr Lisa Denson, Cabinet Member for A Fairer Future (Poverty, Public Health and Mental Health), said:

“The UK Health Security Agency has been investigating increased cases of measles in England since January 2023, so it is important to check you and your children have had two doses of the MMR vaccine to keep you safe.”

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms. Key symptoms to be aware of include:

  • high fever
  • sore, red, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • aching and feeling generally unwell
  • a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

Anyone with symptoms that could be measles is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E. This is because measles spreads very quickly and easily and so it is important to try and prevent the illness spreading further.

To check if you or your family are up-to-date with their vaccines, contact your GP.

For more information about measles, visit: 

www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles

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