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MMR Vaccinations Posted or Updated on 17 Oct 2023

Measles don't let your child catch it

MMR vaccination programme

More than 1 in 10 eligible children under the age of 5 in England have not had the MMR vaccine or are only partially vaccinated.

Measles is highly contagious so even a small decline in MMR uptake can lead to a rise in cases. As international travel resumes, there is more chance for measles to be brought in from countries where it is common. Offering MMR to children who missed out during the pandemic is a priority to help prevent a rise in measles cases.

The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect anyone against measles, mumps and rubella. Over 99% of those who have 2 doses of the MMR vaccine will be protected against measles and rubella.

Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988, measles, mumps and rubella have become rare in the UK. However, outbreaks of disease, especially measles, have occurred when the number of people having the vaccine has dropped.

MMR is offered at 12 to 13 months and again at 3 years and 4 months (pre-school dose) as part of the routine immunisation schedule.

Infants from six months of age travelling to measles endemic areas with a high incidence of measles or to an area where there is a current outbreak, should receive MMR. If the vaccine has been given before one year of age, immunisation with two further doses of MMR should be given at the recommended ages. Children who are travelling who have received one dose of MMR at the routine age should have the second dose brought forward to at least one month after the first. If the child is under 15 months of age, then the routine pre-school dose (a third dose) should be given to ensure full protection.

It is important to be fully vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR before travelling. Adults and children who have missed any of the doses of MMR should be offered the vaccine to ensure they are fully protected.

It is especially important for those who:

  • are about to start college or university
  • are going to travel abroad
  • are planning a pregnancy
  • are a frontline health or social care worker


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