Protect your child from measles – vaccination clinics this half term

Published: 9 February 2024

As measles cases continue to rise across the country, parents, guardians and carers are being urged to make sure their children are up to date with their Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations.

The call is coming from the local NHS and Hertfordshire County Council, as the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most effective way to protect children from becoming extremely unwell as a result of these highly contagious diseases.

Measles spreads easily among unvaccinated people, especially in nurseries and schools. Children who get measles are often really unwell with it, and it can lead to serious health conditions such as meningitis and hearing loss.

To best protect the whole community, we need to ensure at least 95 per cent of children are vaccinated (two doses – usually at ages one and three) – ideally by the age of five years, but Hertfordshire currently falls below this at 88.8 per cent.

To find out if your child is up to date with their MMR vaccines, check their red book or personal child health record (PCHR). People can also check their vaccination status on the NHS App. Alternatively, contact your GP.

The vaccine is free of charge on the NHS, whatever your age, and it is never too late to catch up.

Throughout the coming half term holiday, the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust will be holding vaccination clinics so that anyone under the age of 25 who is eligible for an MMR vaccine but has not yet had either their first or second dose, can receive it. If you are over 25 and need an MMR vaccination, contact your GP.

Bookings for the half term sessions can be made by calling 0300 555 5055 and choosing option 1. Two sessions, in Hatfield on Monday and Hemel Hempstead on Wednesday will accept walk-ins without an appointment but please arrive at least 30 minutes before the end of the session so the nurses have time to see you.

The vaccination sessions are taking place as follows:

Saturday 17 February, 9am – 3pm
Peace Childrens Centre, Peace Prospect, Watford, WD17 3EW

Monday 19 February, 9am – 3pm
Queensway Health Centre, Queensway, Hatfield, AL10 0LF
Walk-ins before 2.30pm

Tuesday 20 February, 9am – 3pm
Queensway Health Centre, Queensway, Hatfield, AL10 0LF

Wednesday 21 February, 9am – 3pm
Longdean School, Rumballs Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 8JB
Walk-ins before 2.30pm

Wednesday 21 February, 9am – 1pm
St Albans Wellbeing Centre, Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3JE

Wednesday 21 February. 9am – 3pm
Waltham Cross Health Clinic, Stanhope Road, Waltham Cross, EN8 7DJ

Thursday 22 February, 9am – 2.30pm
BECC Family Centre, Off Shakespeare Drive, Furzehill Road, Borehamwood, WD6 2FD

Thursday 22 February, 9am – 3pm
Windhill Family Centre, Windhill Primary School, Windhill, Bishop's Stortford, CM23 2NE

Friday 23 February, 9am – 3pm
St Albans Wellbeing Centre, Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3JE

Friday 23 February, 9am – 3pm
Nevells Road Health Centre, Nevells Road, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 4TS

Saturday 24 February, 9am – 3pm
Queensway Health Centre, Queensway, Hatfield, AL10 0LF

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “We are extremely concerned that if vaccine uptake does not improve, we can expect cases of measles to spread to towns across our area. The best way we can stop this from happening is by helping those who have previously missed out on the vaccine to catch up.

“Measles spreads very easily and can be extremely serious for those who are not yet vaccinated. Yet it can be prevented.

“With cases rising across the country, I strongly encourage anyone whose children have not yet had the MMR vaccine, or not had the second dose, to book a place at one of these sessions and get protected.”

Sarah Perman, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “With cases rising across the country and our current vaccination rate at less than 95 per cent, we anticipate that there will unfortunately be outbreaks in Hertfordshire.

“That likelihood makes the half term vaccination clinics even more important, so please take the opportunity to get your child the full protection they need.

“A measles outbreak would potentially mean a 21-day isolation period, which could lead to school classes being temporarily disbanded. Ensuring your child is up to date with their MMR vaccine will not only give significant protection, it will also help reduce disruption to education.

“If attending a half term clinic is not possible, contact your GP as soon as possible to book an appointment.”

If you think your child may have measles it is vital that you phone your GP practice first and follow their instructions. You can check symptoms on the NHS website.