Plans have been accelerated in Croydon to minimise the risk of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) by ensuring more residents are vaccinated against these highly contagious diseases.
A local Measles and Rubella Action Plan is being developed by a consortium of organisations across Croydon with support from regional NHS and Public Health England.
The local initiative is led by Croydon Council’s director of public health, Rachel Flowers and Councillor Jane Avis, the council’s lead member for families, health and social care.
The plan will include recommendations on how to improve the MMR vaccination uptake in both the routine childhood vaccination schedule, and for children and adults who missed out on vaccination in early life and require catch up vaccinations.
The local work includes research to better understand the barriers to getting vaccinated and engaging with parents, carers and others to promote the benefits of the MMR vaccination.
The World Health Organisation advises a 95% vaccination uptake rate, with two doses of MMR by age five, to achieve herd immunity protection among a local population. This will ensure that the virus can no longer be passed on within the community.
Measles is still a problem in Croydon, with outbreaks occurring as recently as last year where a number of measles cases occurred in the borough, leading to illness including hospitalisation.
Now, people are being asked to take the action below to help prevent the spread of these preventable diseases:
• Speak to your GP and find out your vaccination status to make sure you are fully covered.
• Know the facts and get important advice about vaccinations from a GP, pharmacist, health professional or the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/
• Those who work at a school or a college should find out their institution’s vaccination policy and encourage parents /carers, students and staff to be adequately protected and look after their health.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health: “Given the high rates of measles cases in older age groups in the recent outbreaks, it is particularly important to be aware that there is no upper age limit for the MMR vaccination. Pregnant women and those who are immuno-suppressed are also at a higher risk of serious complications if they contract measles. Every opportunity should be taken to check MMR status throughout the life course and administer the vaccination where appropriate.”
“Measles, mumps and rubella are all highly infectious conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal complications. Everyone who isn’t immune is at risk of contracting the virus and passing it on to others. Children and adults in the borough remain at risk of catching measles and other highly infectious diseases like mumps and rubella if they have not had the MMR vaccination.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care