Further chance to catch-up on missed MMR vaccinations

Catch-up clinic nurse explaining how vaccines work

Credit: Kent Community Health Foundation Trust

Children and teenagers who have missed out on their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines can get protected at a spring catch-up clinic.

Run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s (KCHFT) School-aged Immunisation Service, the catch-up offer follows one run over the recent half-term and is part of ongoing efforts by Kent and Medway health leaders to drive up MMR vaccination rates following a national rise in measles cases.

It also supports the England-wide UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England childhood immunisation campaign.

With measles outbreaks ongoing in London and the West Midlands, and cases now confirmed in every region of England, including the South East, there are concerns the highly-infectious disease will keep on spreading unless more people are vaccinated.

Now parents and carers of school-aged children, and teens up to 19, have another chance to ask for an appointment at one of numerous clinics being held in a range of locations across the county in March, April and May.

Children are routinely offered the first dose of MMR at one year and the second dose at three years and four months for life-long protection.

If you are unsure if your child is up to date with their MMR vaccines, you can check their Red Book health record; and if you are still not sure, you can contact your GP practice, who is also able to offer MMR catch-up appointments.

To arrange an appointment at any of the KCHFT catch-up clinics, Kent and Medway parents and carers should call the School-aged Immunisation Service on 0300 123 5205 or email via kchft.cyp-immunisationteam@nhs.net – or book using the service’s webchat.

Measles causes fever and a rash and can lead to serious illness such as pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures. In rare cases it can be fatal. But it is 99% preventable through two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Head shot of Kate Langford

Getting vaccinated is important

Dr Kate Langford NHS Kent and Medway Medical Director

NHS Kent and Medway Medical Director, Dr Kate Langford, said: "The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine, protecting you against measles, mumps and rubella.

“Getting vaccinated is important because all these conditions can also lead to serious problems such as meningitis, hearing loss and also complications during pregnancy.

“It’s also essential that children have both doses – without this, you won’t be benefiting from the protection MMR offers and it will put your children, friends and family at risk.”

Headshot of Dr Anjan Ghosh

MMR vaccination rates in Kent are above the national average but well below the 95% the World Health Organisation advise is needed to prevent measles outbreaks

Dr Anjan Ghosh Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health

KCC Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: “MMR vaccination rates in Kent are above the national average but well below the 95% the World Health Organisation advise is needed to prevent measles outbreaks.

“This is a concern because measles can make people very unwell, one in five children who catch it need hospital care and on rare occasions it can claim lives – yet through two doses of the MMR vaccine measles is preventable.

“MMR is safe and effective, providing life-long protection, it’s free on the NHS and, whatever your age, it’s never too late to catch up."

Head shot of James Williams, Medway Council's Director of Public Health

Vaccination is safe, effective and the best form of defence to help keep you and your loved ones safe

James Williams Medway Council’s Director of Public Health

James Williams, Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Measles, mumps and rubella are unpleasant diseases which can also result in serious long-term conditions.

“Vaccination is safe, effective and the best form of defence to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

“These catch-up clinics provide a great opportunity for parents and carers to ensure their children are vaccinated, and I would also encourage all residents, regardless of their age, to check their records to make sure they are protected.”

Emma de Vos, Immunisation Clinical Lead at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, added: "We provide a safe and comfortable environment for young people in our community clinics.

“We also understand some may find going along to a vaccination session stressful; our experienced nurses are on hand to help make sure you are supported from start to finish to help you get the protection you need.”

The latest list of dates and locations of the clinics you can request a catch-up appointment for your child or teen over the next few months are as follows:

List of MMR catch-up clinics

Updated list of clinics offering MMR catch-up vaccinations to under-19s in Kent and Medway through spring

Anyone with symptoms of measles should stay at home and seek advice from your GP, or NHS 111, before visiting any NHS service.

Find out more about measles and MMR in Kent and Medway.

Read more about vaccinations.

MMR vaccination rates in Kent and Medway:

  • 92.1% of children age five in Kent, and 89.7% in Medway, have had their first dose of MMR.
  • 84.6% (Kent) and 79.7% (Medway) at five have had their second dose.

National MMR vaccination rates.