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Urgent action for anti-vax crisis

22 August 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls for urgent action to improve vaccination uptake after more than 230 cases of measles reported in the UK.
 

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The PM has unveiled a campaign to improve vaccination rates, including for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

The news comes as the UK lost its ‘measles-free’ status with the World Health Organisation (WHO) – three years after the virus was eliminated in the country. 

In the first quarter of 2019, there were 231 confirmed cases of measles in the UK reported Department of Health and Safety. Many of these were acquired abroad with some onward spread in under-vaccinated communities.

Prime Minister Johnson explained: ‘After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.’

Mr Johnson has called for health leaders to renew their efforts to meet 95% for both doses of MMR. Currently just 87% of children are getting their second dose of the jab in England which has likely contributed to the spread of measles. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland a higher percentage of children are receiving the second dose but still not at the target.

The Department for Health and Social Care has stated it will work with Public Health England to deliver a comprehensive strategy to address the issue.

The strategy to be published in Autumn is expected to include plans to improve GP capacity for immunisation appointments, use NHS technology to identify those who may have missed vaccinations and explore ways to inform young people about anti-vax misinformation spread online.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: ‘With this strategy, the whole health system will come together to renew focus on vaccinations – especially for our children – and this time we will eliminate measles for good.’
 

 

Author: Nicole Bains

 

Image credit | Shutterstock

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