Fifteen more cases of measles were reported in the West Midlands in May - and with cases of mumps also on the rise nationally, health chiefs in Wolverhampton are reminding parents to ensure their children have the MMR vaccine.

Research suggests more than 3,000 10 to 16 year olds in Wolverhampton either haven't been immunised or completed their course of vaccinations - putting them at increased risk of catching measles, mumps or rubella.

A national campaign was launched earlier this year to get young people vaccinated following a number of outbreaks of measles across the country. So far this year there have been 55 cases in the West Midlands.

In addition, there are now cases of mumps occurring in the region.

Wolverhampton City Council's Public Health team has written to parents of children aged 10 to 16 urging them to make sure their children are vaccinated, while staff were on hand at the City Show over the weekend to raise awareness and offer advice.

Director of Public Health Ros Jervis said: "We would encourage parents to make sure their children are immunised against measles, mumps and rubella - and book an appointment with their GP as soon as possible if their child either hasn't started or completed their course of vaccinations.

"While the national campaign is targeting 10 to 16 year olds, we would urge parents to ensure that all children and young people are vaccinated, whatever their age. If any parents are in doubt as to whether their children have been vaccinated or not, they should check with their GP as soon as they can.

"These are particularly unpleasant diseases and, given the increasing number of cases of measles and now mumps that there have been in other parts of the country, including the wider West Midlands, we want to make sure that as many young people in Wolverhampton are protected against it as possible."

Across the country, 95% of GP practices have ordered extra vaccine and more than 200,000 extra doses of MMR vaccine have been delivered. To ensure as many children are vaccinated as possible, the need for a school-based programme is being actively considered for the next academic year.

Dr Sue Ibbotson, PHE West Midlands Centre Director, said: "Thanks to the hard work of local health teams we are making good progress towards the 95 per cent uptake target, but there still remains a large number of 10 to 16 year olds, together with many younger children and adults who are under-vaccinated. The programme will continue until we reach as many children as possible in the age groups most affected.

"If your child has not had the MMR vaccine, the upcoming summer holidays is a good time to contact your GP to get them vaccinated."

Public Health England has set up a special Facebook page in conjunction with NHS Choices at Type=links;Linkid=1643;Title=Public Health England Facebook;Target=_blank;.  

  • released: Wednesday 17 July, 2013