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Children’s hospital backs new MMR vaccine campaign

04 Jul 2024 3 minute read
MMR vaccine

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales is backing a new campaign which encourages people to have the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles is currently circulating in Wales, with cases in Gwent now up to 17 since the start of the outbreak in April 2024. There remain concerns the disease could spread to Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as other neighbouring local authorities.

Health officials are reminding parents and carers to ensure their children are fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine. The target uptake rate among five-year-olds in Wales is 95%, but no GP practice cluster in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is currently meeting it which puts the population at risk.


As well as causing symptoms such as a rash or cold-like symptoms, one in 15 children can go on to develop severe complications from measles such as hearing loss, blindness, pneumonia and meningitis. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

Measles is also one of the most contagious diseases in the world, meaning it can spread incredibly quickly if people are not vaccinated.

However, two doses of the MMR vaccine are more than 95% effective at preventing measles.

The first dose of MMR is routinely given at GP surgeries to babies at 12 months old, and the second just after the age of three. However, it is never too late to be vaccinated against measles.


In a bid to boost vaccination rates, a new video has been created with staff at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales who outline the dangers of measles and the importance of high vaccine uptake.

“Everyone needs to play their part in reducing the risk of a widespread outbreak of measles in Wales. We need to increase our uptake of the MMR vaccine if we want to keep our communities safe from harm. Vaccination saves lives,” they say.

Claire Beynon, Cardiff and Vale UHB’s Executive Director of Public Health, said: “I’d like to extend my personal thanks to colleagues in the children’s hospital for giving up their time to help towards this vitally important campaign.

“The MMR vaccine is free, safe and extremely effective in reducing the harm measles can cause. A lot of work is going on within our Local Public Health Team and vaccination teams to improve uptake rates among the very young and those in school settings where catch-up sessions are currently taking place.”

Similarly, Public Health Wales officials are advising families who are planning to attend mass events or who intend to travel internationally over the summer months to ensure their children are vaccinated to reduce the risk of transmission in these settings.

Beverley Griggs, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales and Chair of the multi-agency Outbreak Control Team, said: “We are taking this opportunity to remind parents and carers that they should ensure their children are fully vaccinated ahead of attending mass events during the summer. We know that measles transmits easily when people are in close proximity to one another.

“People should also ensure they get vaccinated if they are travelling abroad, especially to countries where measles vaccination rates are lower.”

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