MMR catch-up programme welcomed in Leeds

New figures published by Public Health England (PHE) today show that, despite high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England for the first three months of 2013, the number of cases in Leeds is low.

However, seven cases were recorded in Leeds between January and March this year, compared with just one case for the same period in 2012.

Experts believe that the rise in measles cases can be mostly attributed to the proportion of 10-16 year olds who missed out on the MMR vaccination in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when concerns around the now discredited link between the vaccine and autism were widespread.

To address the national increase in confirmed measles cases, PHE, NHS England and the Department of Health have today announced a catch-up programme aimed at increasing take-up of the MMR vaccination in children and teenagers across the country.

Local health partners will work together to produce a tailored plan for Leeds to identify and give MMR to unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds through GPs and/or school programmes.

Dr Ian Cameron, director of public health in Leeds said:

“Although the number of measles cases is low in Leeds, it is worrying that there are a large number of 10-16 year olds who have not been vaccinated.

“Measles is a very unpleasant illness that can lead to serious complications, but the good news is that it is entirely preventable.

“We fully support the catch-up programme announced today, and will be working with NHS West Yorkshire, local GPs and PHE to make sure that anyone in Leeds who missed out on the vaccination is able to have it as soon as possible.”


For media enquiries, please contact;

Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk