Publish date: 7 February 2024
Millions of parents and carers in England are being urged to book their children in for their missed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of a major new NHS drive to protect children from becoming seriously unwell, as measles cases continue to rise across the country.
Measles is not just a childhood disease and can be serious at any age. If caught during pregnancy it can be very serious causing stillbirth, miscarriage and low birth weight and NHS bosses are urging young adults to catch up on any missed doses before thinking about starting a family.
Two doses of the safe and effective MMR vaccine are needed for maximum life-long protection, with the first dose given around the child’s first birthday, and the second dose given at around three years and four months old.
However, anyone can catch up at any age on any missed doses and it’s never too late to protect yourself. The vaccine doses are typically given via a single injection into the muscle of the thigh or upper arm and are usually delivered with their other one year and preschool vaccinations.
Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious illnesses that can easily spread between unvaccinated people.
Complications from measles, mumps and rubella can be potentially life changing including blindness, deafness and swelling of the brain (encephalitis).