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Measles cases are on the rise: Is your child protected?

Posted on: 18 July 2023

Measles cases are on the rise in England. Between 1 January and 30 June 2023 there were 128 cases, the majority of which were in London. 

Across England, on average, one in 10 children are not up to date with their MMR vaccinations, with some areas of the country seeing numbers dipping to as low as two in five, putting thousands of children at risk of catching measles and the disease spreading in unvaccinated communities. 

The NHS is calling on parents to protect their families from becoming seriously unwell with measles by ensuring children are up to date with the MMR vaccine.

Just two doses of the MMR vaccine give you and your family lifelong protection against catching measles. If you’ve missed any doses, it’s not too late to catch up. Contact you’re GP Practice today to book an appointment. 


Learn more about the MMR vaccine

What is the MMR vaccine? 

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella which can be serious. MMR vaccination is offered to children at around 1 year of age, with a second dose at 3 years and 4 months. Both doses are required to offer full and lasting protection for your child against these vaccine preventable diseases.  Your GP practice will invite you to arrange an appointment when your child is eligible for the vaccine. If your child is older and has missed the vaccine contact your GP practice to discuss and arrange an appointment to ensure they are fully protected.


Are there any side effects with the MMR vaccine? 

The MMR vaccine is very safe. MMR vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine which means that it contains weakened versions of measles, mumps and rubella viruses. These have been weakened enough to produce immunity without causing disease. Most side effects are mild and do not last long, such as:

  • the area where the needle goes in looking red, swollen and feeling sore for two to three days.
  • around seven to 11 days after the injection, babies or young children may feel a bit unwell or develop a high temperature for about two or three days.
  • some children might also cry and be upset immediately after the injection. This is normal and they should feel better after a cuddle.
  • It's important to remember that the possible complications of infectious conditions, such as measles, mumps and rubella, are much more serious.


Are there any circumstances that my child shouldn’t have their MMR? 

Almost all children can be safely vaccinated with all vaccines. In general, a vaccine should not be given to children who have had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of the same vaccine. While the MMR vaccine is safe for children with a severe egg allergy, you should let your doctor or nurse know if you or your child has had severe allergic reactions to gelatine, an antibiotic called neomycin, egg allergies.

For adults, it is never too late to catch up on their MMR vaccinations. If you are unsure if you or your child are up to date, check your child's red book or GP records and make an appointment to catch up any missed doses. 

For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule, please visit the NHS website.