Measles outbreak puts MMR vaccine pressure on surgeries

GP practices in areas affected by a large measles outbreak are being inundated with requests for the childhood MMR vaccine by concerned parents.

Health officials have urged parents to arrange for their child to receive the MMR vaccine (Photo: UNP)
Health officials have urged parents to arrange for their child to receive the MMR vaccine (Photo: UNP)

As many as 1,700 people received an MMR vaccination at four emergency clinics in south Wales on Saturday.

The clinics have been set up to ease the demand on local practices amid a large outbreak of the disease in parts of the UK. Health officials have reported 588 confirmed cases of measles in south Wales and a further 200 in north-east England so far.

A spokeswoman for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board said local GP practices have been very busy as a result and many are laying on extra vaccination clinics to cope with the high demand.

Public Health Wales has advised parents of children aged between one and 18 years to make immediate arrangements if their child has not yet received the vaccination. The advice has prompted a surge of requests for vaccination among GP practices in the region.

The four extra clinics will re-open on Saturday 13 April. These will again be based at the Morriston, Singleton, Neath Port Talbot and the Princess of Wales hospitals. Demand is expected to remain high in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the extra clinics over the weekend, ABM University public health director Sara Hayes said: 'We’ve vaccinated a wide range of age groups: mainly children, but also some of their parents and other adults. This is a very helpful step in tackling this measles outbreak, and safeguarding our population for the future.'

A local schools immunisation campaign in the region will begin when schoolchildren return from the Easter break.

There were 2,016 confirmed cases of the disease in England and Wales in 2012 - the largest outbreak since 1994.

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