World Immunisation Week highlights the importance of preventing infectious diseases

Public Health leaders across the region are urging residents to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations. It is important that vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), maternal pertussis (whooping cough) and shingles are up to date.

World Immunisation Week begins tomorrow (24 April – 30 April) and promotes the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine-preventable disease. Immunisations save millions of lives every year and are widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, Clinical Chair Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG), said: “Now more than ever, vaccines are proving their worth by helping us through the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is also important that as we emerge from lockdown and come back closer together, we do not see a resurgence of other infectious preventable diseases. Ensuring our immunisations are up to date, particularly our children’s, is one measure we can all take to protect our families, communities and ourselves.”

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness which spreads very easily. Anyone can get measles if they have not been vaccinated or have not had it before, although it's most common in young children. Measles can cause a cough, runny nose, rash and fever. The illness can be very unpleasant and can sometimes lead to serious complications, especially for people whose immune system is not working normally.

The MMR vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their 2 doses. Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP practice.

Vicky Head, Director of Public Health for Milton Keynes, said: “MMR vaccine appointments are not affected by COVID-19 and are still available. The best way to prevent measles is through the MMR vaccination, which is safe and highly effective. Despite this, around one in 10 five year olds in Milton Keynes have not had both doses of MMR.”

Residents can contact their GP, midwife or health visitor to ask about the vaccination schedule and more information about the NHS vaccination programme is available by clicking here.