Wednesday, 10 April 2013
TWO community MMR vaccination clinics are being held in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan this weekend as a precautionary measure in light of the measles outbreak in Swansea.
Public health officials say there is no outbreak in the area and that the clinics are a sensible precaution given the 620 cases seen in Wales to date.
Dr Tom Porter, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales, said: “These clinics are for children and teenagers from Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan who have not had two MMR jabs.
“We have not seen a local outbreak in the Cardiff and Vale area yet but it is important that children and teenagers have both jabs given how serious the risks are from measles.
“We estimate around 13,000 children under 19 have not had two MMRs and are not adequately protected and would urge parents to take up this opportunity or to contact their GP to make an appointment locally.”
The weekend community clinics, which are not for children under 13 months, will be held on Saturday (13/4/13) from 10am until 4pm at the Outpatients Department at Cardiff Royal Infirmary on Newport Road (please use the entrance off Longcross Street) and at the Children’s Centre at University Hospital Llandough.
No appointment is necessary and the actual process of having the jab will take around 15 minutes depending on demand.
Dr Porter said that if parents were unsure whether their child had had two MMR jabs then they should either attend one of the clinics, or alternatively make an appointment with their GP.
He said: “We are starting to see an increase in the number of people who have had the two jabs for MMR in Cardiff and the Vale, which is encouraging, but the number still falls far short of what is needed to stop the spread of what can be a very serious and potentially fatal disease, so it is important everyone is protected.”
Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “Measles cannot be taken lightly because you can never tell who will go on to develop the more serious complications of pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). MMR vaccination offers the only protection against these complications.
“A simple and safe jab will protect your child’s health, could save their life, and will help protect other children too. It is the only precaution you can take at this worrying time, and we have plenty of stocks of the jab, so I would urge parents to make arrangements for vaccination now.
“The MMR jab is recommended by the World Health Organization, UK Department of Health and Public Health Wales as the most effective and safe way to protect children against measles. The alarming numbers of cases of measles and continuing spread of the disease in Wales illustrates how vital it is for parents to get their children vaccinated.”
To prevent the spread of the illness, Public Health Wales has issued the following advice:
•If your child is unvaccinated make immediate arrangements with your GP for them to receive the MMR jab. This is even more important if your child has had contact with someone with measles.
•If your child is unwell and you suspect it is measles you should contact your GP. Your child should not attend school or nursery for four days after the rash starts.
•Telephone your GP surgery to inform them you or your child has a rash illness before attending, so that arrangements can be made in advance for minimising contact with other vulnerable patients.
•Avoid going to A&E unless you are seriously ill, and if you do attend, telephone ahead to let them know you or your child may have measles.
•Avoid contact with pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and babies who are too young to be vaccinated, as they are more vulnerable to infection and there are very few treatments available to help them if they do catch measles.
•If any family members are pregnant, receiving chemotherapy, or aged under one, it is vital to ensure that all other family members are up to date with their MMR vaccination.
•Maternity wards, midwives and health visitors are being asked to share information with parents to encourage them to check the vaccination status of all children in the family to avoid further household spread amongst vulnerable groups.