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News Release: MMR Catch Up scheme.

Date: 29/09/2008           Category: Medway PCT

Adults and children are being urged to get up-to-date with their MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination because of the increase in cases of measles. Medway Primary Care Trust’s District Immunisation Coordinator and Paediatrician Alan Beattie said children and young adults in Medway need two doses of the MMR vaccination for best protection against the disease. The Government is recommending that everyone under 18 years-old ensures they have had two doses of the vaccine. Dr Beattie said: “Some people in Medway may not have been vaccinated at all, others have had one dose but not the second dose. “Potentially the older you are when you get measles the more serious the outcome is to your health. “The vaccination is the only way we can prevent it becoming a serious illness or an epidemic." To date there have been no confirmed cases of measles in Medway in 2008. Across the county there have been 23 cases of measles, compared to seven cases for the same period last year. Dr Beattie said: “As part of the national Catch Up scheme we would like to see Medway reach the magic 95 per cent of people taking up the MMR vaccination. “In the past parents have been led to believe the MMR vaccination was the cause to autism, however a great deal of research has been carried out and no connection between the two has been found.” MMR vaccinations are usually given at one to 15 months old, with the second dose at three and a half years, although the vaccination can be given at any age. Medway has 27 school nurses who can advise parents with children starting school and health visitors and practise nurses can advise parents of younger children. For more information go to http://www.nhsdircet.nhs.uk or http://www.hps.org.uk Caroline Chick