Measles vaccination rates are still far lower than levels needed to protect the population. This is despite the finding of a new Department of Health survey that over 90% of parents are aware it is the best way to protect their child.
The findings follow recent estimates that suggest over two million children in England are at risk from the disease because they have missed either their first or second MMR vaccination. And the poll comes as the Department launches a measles awareness campaign.
From 1 August, the "Measles: Is your child safe?" roadshow will visit 12 measles hotspots across England to give parents the opportunity to talk with health professionals and get the facts on measles and other childhood illness, including the most effective ways to prevent them.
Though preventable, measles is a highly infectious disease and can be serious. Because it spreads so easily, 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks.
The roadshow will visit towns with high numbers of children under five who have a low uptake of the MMR vaccination. Liverpool, Warrington, Manchester, Brighton and Guildford are already experiencing measles outbreaks. Other at-risk areas being targeted include: Leeds, Rotherham, Nottingham, Norwich, Ipswich, Reading and Slough.
Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health said:
"It is great news that the 'Measles: Is your child safe?' roadshow is going to be visiting so many towns and cities around the country.
"The number of cases of measles is on the increase and we need to warn all parents about the potential dangers of this infection. They need to be aware that if their child is not immunised and comes into contact with a child infected with measles, there is around a 90% chance they will catch measles."
"Very good news about the measles roadshow, I can't wait for it to be in this part of London in which we have some resistance to the immunisation being given to children of families in certain communities" - V Henry, London