‘Significant number’ still need measles jab

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A large number of young people in Sheffield still need at least another dose of the measles vaccine to ensure they are fully protected, the city’s Director of Public Health has said.

Letters have been sent to all parents and children at Sheffield schools reminding them to check with their GP that they are vaccinated.

So far this year there have been nine cases of measles in the city, compared with five for the whole of 2012.

A catch-up programme has been launched to give the measles, mumps and rubella - or MMR - jab to as many unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated children aged 10 to 16 as possible, in time for the next school year.

The age group is most at risk because of a drop in the number of jabs in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Controversy surrounded the vaccine at the time after it was wrongly linked to autism and bowel cancer.

Public health director Dr Jeremy Wight said: “While the number of new cases in Sheffield is relatively low we know that there are a significant number of children aged under 10 and over 16 who need at least one further dose of MMR. We have just written to all parents and young people, through schools, to advise them to go to their GPs if contacted and told they need to be vaccinated.

“It is important to get vaccinated as the MMR vaccine is very safe and effective, providing greater than 95 per cent protection. Measles is not a trivial disease, and it can cause significant disability and even, in some cases, death.”