Parents urged to ensure children under 5 are fully vaccinated 

Blackpool Council has launched the first series of community MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) clinics to help get as many local children as possible who may not be up to date, vaccinated. 

Parents are being urged to check their child’s vaccination status, and make sure they catch up on any missed doses.

Measles cases are on the rise in England, with the bulk of new cases coming from the West Midlands.

Although cases in the North West are low, there are growing concerns about how rapidly measles can spread, and the health dangers posed by the disease. 

MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccination which protects against mumps, measles and rubella. It is recommended that children get two doses of the vaccine – the first at 12 months, and the second at 3 years and 4 months old.

To ensure as many children in Blackpool as possible are fully vaccinated, Blackpool Council are working with community healthcare providers FCMS to deliver drop-in MMR vaccination clinics, the first of which are taking place this week. 

The clinics are at Central Family Hub (Gorton Street, Blackpool, FY1 3JW) on Thursday 29 February and Friday 1 March, between 11.00am and 2.00pm on all dates.

No appointment is necessary to attend these clinics. Staff will be offering first and second doses of MMR to children between the ages of 1 and 5 years. 

Anyone outside of this age group can check their vaccination status and catch up with any missed jabs by contacting their GP. 

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are taking immediate steps to protect our communities in Blackpool in response to rising cases of measles cases in England.

“Although numbers in the region are low, it is important that we are proactive in supporting the continuing GP programme, getting out into the community to vaccinate. 

“There is no judgement here. If your child has missed any doses of MMR, or if you’re unsure of their vaccination status, speak to the staff at our clinics. They will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

“Measles is highly contagious and can lead to serious health problems including meningitis, hearing loss and issues during pregnancy. The MMR vaccine offers safe and effective lifelong protection.”

Parents are also being encouraged to look out for any symptoms of measles. It usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small white spots in their mouth. 

If a parent suspects that their child may have measles, they should not attend A&E or their GP surgery. They should instead call their GP or NHS 111 for urgent advice. 

These drop-in MMR vaccination clinics are for Blackpool residents only. 

If you would prefer to book an appointment, please contact your GP surgery. 

Further clinics are expected to be held in the coming weeks.

For more information, visit www.blackpoool.gov.uk/MMR

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