Measles jabs for schools to stop outbreak

Prof Peter Kelly
Prof Peter Kelly

programme is being launched in schools after an outbreak of measles has seen rising numbers contracting the viral disease.

Parents with children attending schools across the Tees Valley, including, Hartlepool, Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard, will receive letters and consent forms over the next few days urging them to take up the offer of the MMR vaccination.

The Tees Outbreak Control team is responding to the current measles outbreak across the region that has seen 434 confirmed and suspected cases in the North-East.

There have been five people from Hartlepool confirmed as having the viral disease and 75 from the Stockton area, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard.

The jabs are being offered to all children who have yet to be vaccinated.

The programme will be delivered in the Hartlepool and Stockton areas over the next few weeks by the school nursing team from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

Chairman of the Tees Outbreak Control Team and director of public health at Stockton Borough Council, Professor Peter Kelly, said: “Measles is a highly infectious disease and people can feel very poorly when they have contracted it.

“Seventeen per cent of the current cases have required hospital treatment and the disease can lead to rare yet serious complications.

“I would therefore urge all parents to get their child vaccinated through the school-based campaign if they have not been immunised already.

“MMR is a safe and highly effective vaccination which protects against measles as well as mumps and rubella.”

Any parent who is concerned about their child’s vaccination status should contact their GP in the first instance.

Stockton council’s cabinet member, Coun Jim Beall, said: “I’m very pleased and reassured to see arrangements between the local authorities, NHS England, Public Health North East and the School Nursing Teams working effectively to tackle this outbreak.”