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Measles and MMR vaccine

Measles is a highly infectious disease that, in some cases, can lead to severe illness and death. Young children, pregnant women and those who are immunosuppressed are at particular risk if infected with measles.

Increase in cases

Measles cases are increasing in London due to the high number of people who have not received the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have warned that this could lead to outbreaks in the capital unless vaccination rates are increased.

Measles symptoms

Symptoms of measles may include:

  • High fever
  • Sore, red, watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Aching and feeling generally unwell
  • A blotchy red brown rash, which typically appears after the initial symptoms 

Anyone with symptoms of measles is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice.

More information about measles is available on the NHS website.

MMR vaccination

The MMR vaccine remains the only protection against measles.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are needed to provide the best protection against measles, as well as mumps and rubella.

Children are routinely offered the two doses of the MMR vaccine:  

  • First dose: age one year
  • Second dose: age 18 months

Checking vaccination status

We are encouraging parents and carers to check that children are up to date with two doses of the MMR vaccine. You can make sure your child is up to date by checking their Red Book or contacting your GP practice.

How to book a vaccination

If your child needs one or both MMR vaccines, make an appointment at your GP surgery through the NHS app.

It is never too late to catch up. The MMR vaccine is available free from the NHS whatever your age. If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, book an appointment at your GP surgery through the NHS app. 

Vaccine safety

The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect against severe illness from measles.

Dr Kiran Rahim explains more about the safety of the MMR vaccine in this video:

If you have any questions about the MMR vaccine, or any routine childhood vaccinations, you can ask your GP surgery for advice.

Information is available through the NHS about why vaccination is safe and important.

Updated: 05 February 2024

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