Many parents will have viewed the leading article on Tuesday’s front page of The Times. This highlighted the concerning rise of Measles cases in the past year, by 300% across Europe, an area of the world where Measles had almost been eradicated. Britain has reported almost 300 cases in the past year across Yorkshire, the North-West and Surrey all caused by people arriving from affected countries, such as France and Italy.
Confidence in the MMR vaccination is now largely restored in the UK where the vaccination rate within young children is at 92%. However, the so-called ‘Wakefield cohort’ of unprotected young people in Britain are now advised to consider MMR vaccination when travelling to parts of Europe. This term refers to the group of young people who remain unvaccinated with MMR as their parents chose not to vaccinate their offspring after the fraudulent claims regarding the MMR vaccine by Dr Andrew Wakefield, in the 1990s. Research carried out in WCHC 4 years ago revealed that our pupil population at that time had very low coverage of MMR protection and we have reason to believe that we remain well below the hoped for 92% of pupils vaccinated with MMR.
Here at Wellington College Health Centre, our current 3rd form pupils will be offered MMR vaccination this week alongside other scheduled 3rd form vaccinations, through the NHS school health service.
We are also happy to offer MMR vaccination to any pupil who has not received the required 2 MMR vaccinations at any time, by arrangement with the WCHC nurse team. Finally, as recommended by NHS England, we will continue to offer MMR vaccination as part of the suite of travel vaccinations offered when pupils are travelling to affected countries which currently includes parts of Europe. We would of course seek parental consent for any vaccination where appropriate.
Bev Gilbert and the Health Centre team.