NHS Greater Manchester calls for 16- to 25-year-olds to get their MMR jab

NHS Greater Manchester is urging over 200,000 16- to 25-year-olds who aren’t already fully vaccinated to come forward for their measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, amid rising cases.

Since Tuesday 18 June, 201,000 young people have been receiving letters and texts from the NHS to inform them if they are missing one or both MMR jabs. 

Any eligible young person will then be able to book an appointment with their GP or visit one of the Greater Manchester pharmacies offering MMR vaccinations without an appointment.

Dr Helen Wall, Clinical Director for Population Health at NHS Greater Manchester, said: “With cases of measles rising in Greater Manchester and nationally, it’s more important than ever that young people ensure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine.”

There is currently no medical treatment for measles, but a full set of doses of the MMR vaccine offers lifelong protection against becoming seriously unwell with the disease.

Catching measles can lead to life-changing issues for adults and children, such as blindness, deafness and swelling of the brain (encephalitis) – and those in certain groups, including babies, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity, are at increased risk of these complications. 

The vaccine push is part of an ongoing NHS MMR vaccine catch-up campaign to ensure everybody is protected from contracting the disease.

Earlier in the year, phase one saw over a million parents and carers of 6- to 11-years-olds in England, including Greater Manchester, that were not up to date with their MMR vaccinations sent emails, letters and texts inviting them to book a vaccine appointment for their children.

In April, 15 pharmacies from NHS Greater Manchester began taking part in a North West pilot offering the MMR vaccine for free to support the national call and recall of under-vaccinated children and to help increase MMR vaccines – joining 28 other pharmacies in the region to be the first in the country to take part in the trial.

Hall said: “Measles doesn’t just affect children, it can affect people of all ages, and if you’re not fully vaccinated then you are more likely to get seriously ill and be hospitalised.

“The MMR vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself and others – just two doses can give life-long protection against becoming seriously unwell. That’s why we are urging anyone aged 16-25 who hasn’t had both doses of the MMR vaccine to please find their nearest pharmacy offering the MMR vaccine or contact their GP surgery for an appointment.”

Wall recommends that anybody whose records are not up to date – or if they are unsure about the number of doses they’ve received – to get the MMR vaccine just in case. 

Symptoms of measles appear 7-10 days after contact with the virus and may include cold-like symptoms, sore eyes, fever, white spots in the mouth, and a non-itchy rash – more information can be found on the NHS website.  

The full list of participating NHS Greater Manchester pharmacies can be found on the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership website

Feature image by Gustavo Fring

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