DoH urges teenagers to receive MMR jab

A third of 16-18-year-olds do not believe that measles, mumps or rubella can affect them yet nearly a quarter do not even know if they have had the MMR vaccination, according to the DoH.

Health Protection Agency data show that mumps is not uncommon within this age group, with 2,224 confirmed cases reported amongst 15-19-year-olds in England and Wales between January and November 2009.

The DoH survey of 1,001 16-18-year-olds also revealed a variety of reasons for teenagers missing the jab, from nearly a quarter (23%) saying they were afraid of needles to 10% citing a dislike of going to the doctor.

The biggest health worry is STIs, with 56% saying they are most concerned about this issue.

Professor David Salisbury, DoH immunisation director, said: ‘Many young people feel that they are not in danger of catching, measles, mumps and rubella, yet because older teenagers will be among those who were not routinely offered the MMR vaccination in childhood, we are seeing a high number of cases, particularly of mumps, within this age group.

‘It is a concern that so many are unsure about whether they've been vaccinated and I would encourage them to seek advice from their practice nurse or GP. It is never too late to have the MMR vaccine and protect yourself and others.'

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