Swansea measles: 95% of youngsters vaccinated and protected

Young child has MMR vaccine
Image caption Herd immunity against measles has not yet been reached

More than 95% of children and teenagers in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend are now protected against measles, say health officials.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) says youngsters have received at least one MMR (measles mumps rubella) jab.

But "herd immunity", the protective effect that results from a high uptake of vaccination, has not been achieved.

For this, 95% of youngsters must receive both MMR jabs.

ABMUHB said its drive will be to achieve that target.

The health board's director of public health Dr Sara Hayes said: "We are truly delighted that 95% of our children and young people have now had at least one MMR. That is a really positive achievement.

"The vital next step is to ensure the final few per cent of children and teenagers who still need a second MMR to achieve full protection receive it as soon as possible.

"Once we hit 95% of fully vaccinated young people it means that vulnerable members of our community, who can't have MMR because they are too young or are immune-compromised, will be protected from the risk of outbreaks."

'Very encouraging'

During the outbreak:

  • More than 30,000 doses of the MMR vaccine have been given in the ABMUHB area.
  • GP surgeries have administered 16,500 and drop-in clinics have given more than 8,500.
  • School and occupational health clinics have administered more than 5,300 jabs between them.

Latest Public Health Wales (PHW) figures show 1,202 measles cases reported since November, with the outbreak slowing.

On Tuesday, it said babies under the age of one who live in the outbreak area no longer need to have their MMR vaccinations early.

Dr Hayes said that while early indications were very encouraging, it was important that parents now ensured their children had the second jab.

She said: "At least four weeks needs to pass between the first MMR jab and the second to ensure they work properly with your immune system.

"That means that everyone who had their first MMR jab at any of our hospital drop-in clinics or school MMR clinics can now have their second dose. They should contact their GP to arrange it.

"People who had their first MMR jab via their GP should also go back to their GP for the second once four weeks have passed."

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