We are writing to you to alert you to the rapid increase of measles and mumps cases resulting in the loss of UK measles elimination status. In 2018 Public Health England (PHE) reported there was a marked increase in the number of confirmed measles cases, with 991 confirmed cases in England and Wales, compared with 284 cases in 2017. PHE Provisional data has indicated there were 5,042 recorded cases of mumps in England in 2019 – four times the number in 2018 and the highest level in a decade.
The rise in the incidence of measles and mumps is directly linked to the fall-off in Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination rates. In order to address this extremely worrying situation in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced a school based MMR catch up programme. This will commence from March 2020 for children in school years 8, 9 and 10 who are deemed eligible by missing one or both doses of MMR on the child health information system (CHiS).
The link below provides information about measles and the benefits of the MMR vaccine. As a first step we hope you will be able to help us raise awareness and uptake of the MMR vaccination by sharing this link with parents/carers in the relevant year groups (school years 8,9,10) via your electronic communications.
We would also like to request your support for this important public health campaign by agreeing to host MMR vaccinations at the school for those in year groups 8, 9 and 10. The School Age Immunisation Team is working closely with your local PHE team to arrange this in a way that is as least disruptive for schools. Therefore, the preferred model of delivery of the catch up MMR vaccinations will be alongside the current vaccination programmes of Meningitis ACWY/Diphtheria Tetanus and Polio and HPV. However, for some schools, depending on the number of MMR vaccinations required, it may be more appropriate for a separate MMR session to be arranged. We will be communicating with individual schools regarding outstanding MMR vaccinations imminently. There will also be the option of an appointment in one of our community clinics if this is the preferred venue of the parent/carer/child.
Unlike Meningitis ACWY/Diphtheria Tetanus and Polio and HPV the MMR Consent packs will be posted directly by the School Age Immunisation Team to parents and carers of those eligible children. However, the letter enclosed will request consent forms to be returned via school and a member of the School Age Immunisation Team will liaise with school to collect the returned forms in the usual method.
We would be most grateful for your support and co-operation as we undertake this very important vaccination programme over the coming months. If you require any further information at this point, please do not hesitate to contact the team.
School Age Immunisation Team
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Rising Brook Health Centre
0300 124 0366