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UK loses measles-free status: health leaders to renew efforts

04 October 2019

The government has set out measures to improve vaccination rates after the UK lost its measles-free status with the World Health Organization.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, called for health leaders to renew their efforts to meet the 95% coverage rate for both doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Currently, 87% of children are getting their second dose of the jab.

Measles cases tripled in 2018 – with 991 cases in England and Wales, compared with 284 cases in 2017. There have been 231 confirmed cases in the UK in the first quarter of the year.

Measures include NHS England writing to GPs urging them to promote ‘catch up’ vaccination programmes for MMR, and strengthening the role of local immunisation coordinators – including tailoring specific local interventions to under-vaccinated communities.

Advice on nhs.uk will also be updated to specifically address misleading information about the dangers of vaccines, and a summit of social media companies will be held to discuss how they can promote accurate information about vaccination.

Image credit | Alamy

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