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Parents in Bucks urged to protect children from measles
PARENTS in Bucks are being urged to make sure their children are protected from measles as they prepare for the start of the new school year.
The highly infectious disease is still circulating in England, with a total of 1287 cases since the start of the year.
Last school term, Buckinghamshire experienced cases of measles in the school community, and the County Council’s public health team are urging parents to make sure their children are protected as the new school year begins.
Measles can require considerable time off school, with one in five of the children affected in England this year needed to be admitted to hospital, and it can lead to serious illness and potentially long-term problems.
BCC says children should receive two doses of the combined MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The two doses are offered to all children at the age of 12 months and before they start primary school, but if these weren’t taken up at the time, vaccination is readily available at GP surgeries for all children and young people.
Buckinghamshire County Council’s public health consultant Dr Lucy Jessop said: "To get the very best protection against measles, I’d definitely recommend all children to have two doses of the combined MMR.
"However, if a young person missed out on their MMR altogether when they were a child, it’s well worth getting this via their GP as soon as possible. Parents of 10-16 year olds who are not fully immunised should have already been contacted by their GP to invite them in for vaccination and appointments for this are still available."
Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Patricia Birchley added: "People forget what a serious illness measles can be. It’s so easy for young people to get immunised via their GP, even if they missed the MMR when they were young.
"With a new school year starting, this is the ideal moment to take action and get secondary school pupils protected before they come into contact with fellow students who may have visited places over the summer where measles is more prevalent."
The Carrington House Surgery in High Wycombe has a ‘catch up’ campaign, encouraging parents and 10-16 year olds to have any MMR vaccinations they missed when they were young.
Practice Manager Helen Morris-Khan said: " I would encourage any parents who received a letter, but haven’t got round to making an appointment yet, to call their surgery before they go back to school to protect their children with this safe and effective vaccine."
For more information on measles and the MMR visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Measles/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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