Nottingham Post

‘My daughter could die if she catches measles – get children vaccinated’



A MOTHER who fears her daughter could die if she catches measles is pleading with other parents to get their children vaccinated amid a fall in uptake of the MMR jab.

Hollie Jackson’s daughter Beth, whose name we have changed for reasons of anonymity, suffers from an autoimmune disease called alpha 1 antitrypsi­n deficiency (AATD), which can make her more susceptibl­e to illness.

And after a recent spike in measles outbreaks in the UK, Ms Jackson, 32, of Hucknall, says she is “terrified” for her.

She is so worried that she spent time searching for a nursery with just 12 other children attending to minimise her risk of potential harm.

Ms Jackson said: “It’s terrifying. I fear for her knowing that she could come into contact with someone who isn’t vaccinated. I can’t blame children for their parents’ choices and I feel like it’s really difficult to argue against anti-vax parents these days so I don’t think I’ll be able to change their mind.”

Beth was diagnosed with AATD at just seven weeks old. The genetic condition affects the lungs and the liver and can present symptoms similar to asthma. Fearful of the consequenc­es, Ms Jackson fast-tracked Beth to have her flu vaccine early and she has also had her first MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) dose as planned, at 13 months. But it isn’t just MMR and flu that could be fatal.

Chickenpox is also a risk. But the NHS does not vaccinate children under five, meaning that Hollie has had to go to a private doctor to make sure Beth is fully protected.

A childcare worker herself, Ms Jackson says the nursery that Beth attends was “near the top of the list” of ones she wanted to send her to. But, due to privacy reasons, she was not allowed to request informatio­n on the other children’s vaccinatio­n status or request that they get vaccinated. Hollie said: “It’s just something I have to take a risk with. I can’t control it so I don’t like to dwell on it.”

Nottingham­shire’s childhood MMR vaccinatio­n rate is 86 percent for two doses at the age of five, way below the NHS target of 95 percent. The county saw a 2.7 percent decrease in childhood MMR booster vaccinatio­ns in children up to five in 2022/23 compared to 2021/22.

Ms Jackson says she believes this is due to a “stigma” of vaccinatio­ns being unsafe, particular­ly in light of the Covid pandemic. She says that more needs to be done to educate parents in the light of “false” informatio­n spread on social media, on which she has herself seen videos disparagin­g vaccines and promoting home remedies as alternativ­es to modern medicine.

She said: “It’s shocking. We’re so privileged in this day and age to receive immunisati­on against diseases and people deem it unsafe despite years of medical research. I think more needs to be done to educate these parents.”

The decrease in uptake has not gone unnoticed by health profession­als.

Shenaz Mahmood, senior vaccinatio­n nurse at Stenhouse Medical Centre, Arnold, said the surgery had been sending out targeted messages to parents of unvaccinat­ed children who are registered there, inviting them to be jabbed and attempting to reassure them over their concerns. She described the decrease in uptake of MMR jabs as “concerning”.

She said: “With the recent rise in measles cases and uptake only 83.9 percent in our county – lower than the 92 percent average – it is concerning as a practice nurse who is carrying out the vaccinatio­ns. We have highlighte­d to all patients that measles is a very serious disease at any age and urge for them to vaccinate their children”.

 ?? ?? Hollie Jackson is hoping to get her daughter vaccinated for some diseases earlier than the NHS can provide
Hollie Jackson is hoping to get her daughter vaccinated for some diseases earlier than the NHS can provide

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