The measles outbreak may be officially over, but Hywel Dda Health Board is reminding its communities that there is always a risk of catching measles, mumps or rubella if you have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine.
Over the last four to five months, following the rise in the number of cases in the Swansea area, the response to calls to catch up on missed doses has resulted in over 7,500 doses given across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
These non-routine MMR doses have been administered in GP surgeries, school vaccination sessions, MMR drop-in clinics and occupational health departments.
Teresa Owen, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda Health Board said: “We’d like to thank every person who has taken the time to make sure they or their loved ones are protected by the MMR vaccine. I’d also like to thank every member of staff and our community colleagues for their hard work and effort over the last few months.
“The challenge now is to ensure uptake of the MMR remains high so we don’t find ourselves in the same predicament a few years down the line.
“We’re pleased to report that GP practices are still delivering higher numbers of MMR vaccine compared to last year. We hope that this is a sign that people realise these diseases, which we may think are in the past, can still affect us today. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves and the community if we are to prevent another outbreak in future.”
Figures show that since January 2013, there have been 117 notified cases of measles in the health board area. The current numbers of notifications are significantly lower than their peak in April, but measles and mumps are still in circulation.
It is never too late to catch up on missed MMR doses. The first dose is delivered between the ages of 12-13months, and the second vaccination before starting school between the ages of three and five years.
Check with your GP if you think you or your child has missed one or both doses. They can look at your health record and make an appointment to receive the vaccination if needed. If you were born before 1970 it is generally considered that you are immune to measles and mumps.
If you are ever concerned you or your child is at risk from measles, mumps or rubella, contact your GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47. To learn more about the MMR vaccine see www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/Encyclopaedia/m/article/mmr