Glossop Advertiser - - Front Page - Claire Miller and Steve Rob­son

MORE than 30,000 chil­dren in Greater Manch­ester have not re­ceived the MMR jab. The fig­ures are taken from an anal­y­sis of the num­ber of young peo­ple born since 2000 in the re­gion, who haven’t had the first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vac­cine by the age of five.

It comes as Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) re­ported a ‘na­tional measles in­ci­dent’, with a five-fold in­crease in measles cases re­ported in 2018.

Ex­perts be­lieve the dis­ease is pri­mar­ily af­fect­ing younger peo­ple who did not have the vac­cine as a child due to un­founded health fears. Up­take fell heav­ily in 1998 af­ter a study linked it to autism and bowel dis­ease.

The study was widely dis­cred­ited and the au­thor, An­drew Wake­field, was even­tu­ally struck off as a doc­tor by the Gen­eral Med­i­cal Coun­cil.

Be­tween Jan­uary 1 and Au­gust 23 this year, there have been 859 cases of measles in Eng­land – com­pared with 274 in 2017.

And NHS data shows a to­tal of 32,400 chil­dren were not vac­ci­nated across the ten bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester.

Hotspots in­clude Old­ham, where 3,131 have not had the jab, and Wi­gan, where there are 3,175.

A much larger num­ber of young­sters have not had both doses of the MMR vac­cine by the age of five. There are more than 16,000 in Manch­ester, al­most 7,000 in Old­ham and more than 5,000 in Bolton and Wi­gan.

Measles is a highly in­fec­tious dis­ease which can lead to se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions and in some cases can be fa­tal.

There have been 48 deaths from measles across the Euro­pean Union since 2016.

PHE is urg­ing young peo­ple to get in con­tact with their GP to check if they have been vac­ci­nated and get up to date if nec­es­sary.

Dr Mary Ram­say, head of im­mu­ni­sa­tion at PHE, said: “The measles out­breaks we are cur­rently see­ing in Eng­land are linked to on­go­ing large out­breaks in Europe.

“The ma­jor­ity of cases we are see­ing are in teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vac­cine when they were chil­dren. Any­one who missed out on their MMR vac­cine in the past or are un­sure if they had two doses should con­tact their GP prac­tice to catch up.

“This serves as an im­por­tant re­minder for par­ents to take up the of­fer of MMR vac­ci­na­tion for their chil­dren at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and four months of age.

“The UK re­cently achieved World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion measles elim­i­na­tion sta­tus and so the over­all risk of measles to the UK pop­u­la­tion is low, how­ever, we will con­tinue to see cases in unim­mu­nised in­di­vid­u­als and lim­ited on­ward spread can oc­cur in com­mu­ni­ties with low MMR cov­er­age, and in age groups with very close mix­ing.”

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