A new campaign warns about the serious risk of the measles infection to a child’s health. Parents and guardians are being urged to ensure that children have the recommended 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. This vaccine protects against three harmful infections; measles, mumps and rubella.
The latest data shows that MMR vaccination uptake has dropped to the lowest level seen in over a decade. The vaccine is vital to protect against preventable diseases that can be seriously damaging to a child’s health.
What are Measles, Mumps and Rubella?
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to serious complications. Measles usually begins with cold-like symptoms that develop around 10 days after being infected. A few days later, it is followed by the measles rash. It is also common for spots to develop in the mouth, however, not everyone will display all of these symptoms.
Along with measles, mumps is a highly contagious infection. Mumps causes painful swelling at the side of the face under the ears in the parotid glands. These glands are responsible for producing saliva, with the swelling causing pain, tenderness and difficulty with swallowing.
Rubella is a contagious virus that can cause usually mild symptoms including a distinctive rash, low fever, nausea and conjunctivitis. It can be especially dangerous if contracted during the early stages of pregnancy. At this time, it can cause life-threatening illness in the unborn child.
Reductions in Vaccine Uptake
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, data shows a dramatic reduction in the uptake of childhood vaccines. This puts children who are not being fully vaccinated at risk of catching measles, mumps and other childhood diseases.
Uptake has dropped to below 90% for children who are 2 years old. And for 5-year-old children it has dropped to 85.5%. This is well below the 95% World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended target needed for measles elimination. Over 1 in 10 children under the age of 5 are not fully protected from measles. Additionally, more children will be at an increased vulnerability for contracting it.
Helping You With Your Child’s Health
The MMR vaccine is vitally important to prevent against serious health concerns. Conditions including meningitis, hearing loss and issues during pregnancy. It is advised that 2 doses of the MMR vaccine provides the best protection against measles, mumps and rubella. It is given to babies and young children as part of their childhood immunisation regime. This is normally between the ages of 1 and 3 years and 4 months.
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