The way to reduce the number of confirmed cases of measles recorded each year is to increase the number of children vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
In addition to the routine MMR vaccination programme, on 6 August 2008 the Department launched a national MMR vaccine catch-up campaign. The aim of the campaign is to immunise all children between one and 18 years of age who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated with MMR vaccine.
To support the campaign the Department has provided extra funding to primary care trusts (PCTs) with PCTs outside London having their funding limits increased by £30,000 and London PCTs’ funding limits increased by £60,000. The Department has also sourced additional supplies of vaccine, provided technical support to general practitioners to help them identify children who have not received the MMR vaccine and provided additional online reports to PCTs to help them monitor the effectiveness of their catch-up programmes. The Department has also sent all general practitioner surgeries new measles leaflets and posters.
The Department has held meetings with both strategic health authorities and PCT immunisation co-ordinators, regional directors of public health and directors of performance to emphasise the importance of reducing measles cases through improving vaccination uptake.
A public relations campaign will be rolled out from March 2009. Key messages will include how serious and infectious measles is and how it is never too late to have the MMR vaccine.
Hemel Hempstead is covered by West Hertfordshire PCT. West Hertfordshire PCT and East and North Hertfordshire PCT are implementing the national MMR vaccine catch-up campaign.