TopicsImmunisation & IllnessPredicted measles outbreak in London prompts national campaign

Predicted measles outbreak in London prompts national campaign

A measles outbreak could occur in the capital, with between 40,000 to 160,000 predicted cases, unless MMR vaccination rates improve, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) modelling data suggests.

The year has already seen 128 cases of measles in England between January and June, the UKHSA report, with 66% of cases detected in London. This is compared to just 54 in the entirety of 2022.

London’s risk is due to low vaccination rates over several years, impacted further by Covid. In some areas of the capital, the coverage of the first MMR dose for two-year-olds was as low as 69.5%.

While the risk of a measles epidemic across the rest of the UK is low according to the UKHSA, teenagers, young people and under vaccinated communities are vulnerable.

NHS England has launched a national campaign encouraging people to check their vaccination status, with targeted outreach work in London. They’re urging anyone unvaccinated to come forward.

One group at particular risk are 19- to 25-year-olds who may have been affected by the antivax campaigns of the early 2000s.

All children at primary school who have missed one or two doses of the MMR vaccine are being offered the chance to get their updates at school. Parents of younger children can book an appointment with their GP or visit a community clinic.

UKHSA Consultant Epidemiologist Dr Vanessa Saliba, said: ‘Measles spreads very easily but is preventable. To help protect ourselves, our families and those around us it is vital we all ensure we are vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine, free on the NHS whatever your age.’

Image credit | Shutterstock


Latest articles

More articles