Cumbria County Council is supporting a drive from Public Health England reminding festival goers to ensure they are protected against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
Mass gathering events like festivals can be hot spots for measles and mumps as they present the perfect opportunity for the infection to spread.
The MMR vaccine protects against three infections; measles, mumps and rubella. These are viral infections that can quickly spread to unprotected children and adults – they spread more easily than flu or the common cold.
There has recently been an increase in measles and mumps cases across England, particularly in young people and children. There are also several large measles outbreaks across Europe which has prompted Public Health England to also call on parents to get their children vaccinated against MMR when the vaccine is offered, or for them to take it up now if they didn’t have it at the scheduled time.
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.
“Outbreaks of disease, especially measles, have occurred when the number of people having the vaccine has dropped. If you are unsure whether you have previously had the vaccine or not, you can check with your GP Practice, having further doses will not cause any harm.
“The MMR vaccine might not be top of people’s list for getting festival ready, but it’s very important and it’s never too late to get vaccinated.”
Dr Amanda Boardman, a GP in Cumbria, was keen to support the campaign and said: “This is a great initiative to encourage people who are potentially vulnerable to measles and mumps to protect themselves by ensuring that they have been immunised.
“These illnesses can spread very fast, particularly at mass gatherings such as music festivals, so people should take the opportunity to reduce their risk before they go.
“The vaccination is simple and quick to get by making an appointment at your GP Practice.”
The MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988 and is given on the NHS as a single injection to babies, as part of their routine vaccination schedule, usually within a month of their first birthday. A second injection of the vaccine is given just before starting school, usually at 3 years and 4 months.
The vaccine is also available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their 2 doses. There are a number of ways people can check if they had their MMR vaccines:
- You can email your GP Practice (contact details are usually on their website) and someone will get back to you
- Call the GP Practice and explain what you need to the team
- You can download an app such as MyGP which will carry your vaccination history
More information about the vaccine can be found on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/.