All children should have measles jab, claims Havering health worker

A public health worker is urging Havering parents to vaccinate their children against measles before the summer holidays, after recent outbreaks of the disease in Europe.

Elizabeth Bell, acting programme manager for immunisation and screening in Havering, said: “It’s important that children are vaccinated against measles. If they contract it, it can be very serious because their bodies are still developing.”

In Havering, 20 per cent of children have not been vaccinated by the age of five. And from January to April this year, there have been two suspected cases of measles.

Risk abroad

But although the figures seem relatively low, unvaccinated children could be put at risk if travelling to France and other parts of Europe where there has been an outbreak.

Elizabeth said: “The emphasis is that it is never too late to have your children immunised.

“Children who have not had the vaccine are less at risk of getting measles in England, but when they go abroad the risk is much greater.”

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Children in the UK are offered vaccination against measles as part of the MMR vaccine.

The first dose should be given at 13 months of age.

A second dose should be given before a child starts school.

MMR vaccine also protects against mumps and rubella.