Hackney Council,

Measles cases are rising

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has declared a national incident following a large measles outbreak in the West Midlands and a rise in cases across England and in London.  

The UKHSA is warning that further outbreaks of measles will occur unless urgent action is taken to increase measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake. London is the region with the lowest MMR coverage in the country.

Hackney is at a particularly high risk of measles outbreaks, as it is the Local Authority with the lowest rate of MMR vaccine uptake in the country. The Council is therefore urging families to check that they are up to date with the MMR vaccine.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. 

Measles is a serious illness; between 20 and 40% of affected cases can require hospital admission. In rare cases, tragically, measles can be fatal.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney and the City

 Children who get measles can be very unwell and some will suffer life changing complications. 

The best way for parents to protect their children from measles is the MMR vaccine. Two doses of the MMR vaccine gives lifelong protection.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney and the City

The first vaccine is typically given at age one year and the second at age three years and four months old. If you’ve missed any doses, it’s never too late to catch up. 

Parents should check their children are fully vaccinated with 2 MMR doses, by checking their red book or with their GP practice. Younger and older adults can also do this. Anyone not up-to-date with their vaccines should make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.

Animal-product free / porcine-free vaccines are available on request for those with specific dietary and religious requirements. 

Measles symptoms to be aware of include:

  • high fever
  • sore, red, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • aching and feeling generally unwell 
  • a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

You can also use the NHS App to book and manage appointments online. 

Catch-up clinics are also being offered to children between 4-11 years as they may be overdue for their Polio and/or MMR immunisations. 

If you would like to book a free vaccine for your child please call: 0207 613 9044 or email mmr@vaccinationuk.co.uk. 

Upcoming catch up clinics will be held on Saturday 16th and 23rd March at Hackney Central Library from 10.30am - 2.30pm.

Anyone with symptoms is also being advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice.

For more information about measles, see the nhs.uk website.