Hartlepool Borough Council aims to improve vaccination rates following rising measles cases

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Health chiefs in Hartlepool are looking to increase vaccination uptake among young children to help mitigate against rising numbers of measles cases nationally.

Hartlepool Borough Council bosses noted measles cases “are currently rising in the UK” and, following localised outbreaks in the West Midlands, there is “every possibility that we will see cases spreading across the country”.

They added the most important way to prevent illness caused by measles is to get vaccinated, with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination providing “excellent protection” after two doses.

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A report from Craig Blundred, council director of public health, noted in Hartlepool the current MMR uptake for the first dose for children at 24 months is 92.5%, below the 95% requirement.

Hartlepool Borough Council director of public health Craig Blundred.Hartlepool Borough Council director of public health Craig Blundred.
Hartlepool Borough Council director of public health Craig Blundred.

It adds the amount of children who have not had a second dose by age five is 88.8%, again below the 95% national target.

In the report, Mr Blundred said: “The data clearly shows we need to do more to increase the uptake of vaccinations.”

A national and regional campaign is now underway to raise awareness of the need for vaccination, according to the Hartlepool health and wellbeing board report.

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This will include communicating the importance of the vaccinations.

Meetings have also been taking place with health chiefs to ensure there is an “appropriate response in place” in the event of cases emerging in Hartlepool, which have included organisations sharing response plans for any outbreaks.

The report concluded: “Measles is a serious disease and we need to ensure that the health system in Hartlepool is resilient to be able to cope with potential outbreaks.”

For more information about measles, visit www.nhs.uk and search for measles.