GPs armed with MMR catch-up jabs

Vaccination_of_girl_preview GPs in England have ordered more than 200,000 extra doses of the MMR vaccine to help protect children from measles.

The NHS aims to vaccinate a million children, of whom a third are aged 11–16 and have received no protection to date.

The vaccination drive aims to prevent a major outbreak similar to those in Swansea this spring and the north-west of England last year.

In the late 1990s, claims – now exposed as fraudulent – of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism caused a generation of children to miss being vaccinated against measles.

In 1 in 15 cases, measles leads to serious complications such as pneumonia, blindness or even death.

In 2012 there were nearly 2,000 cases of measles in England – the highest figure in nearly two decades.

The catch-up vaccination campaign aims to immunise a third of a million children aged 10–16 who have received no protection, and two thirds of a million who are in other age groups or have received only the first of two MMR jabs.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, said: “Our ambition is to vaccinate 95% of 10 to 16 year olds at risk in time for the next school year, and so the number of extra doses ordered by most GP practices is very encouraging.”