It’s the 30th anniversary of the MMR vaccine! To commemorate this scientific breakthrough, we wanted to share some information about the MMR vaccine and why it remains as important as ever for people, especially children, to be vaccinated.
The MMR vaccine is a combined vaccination that protects against three highly infectious diseases: measles, mumps and rubella (german measles). All three of which can be very serious and have the potential to cause long-lasting and severe health complications such as significant hearing loss, lung infection (pneumonia), brain infection (encephalitis), viral meningitis and even death.
Thankfully, the MMR vaccine is a highly safe and effective way of providing protection against measles, mumps and rubella. After 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, it is around 99% effective at protecting against measles and rubella and 97% effective at protecting against mumps.
Some people may not remember but before the MMR vaccine rollout in 1988, measles, mumps and rubella were all relatively common illnesses in the UK, especially among children. It is only thanks to a successful NHS vaccination programme with support by the private healthcare sector that cases dropped drastically after this time. And while this is great, the target of 95% of babies being vaccinated is still not being met and there continues to be outbreaks among unvaccinated children and adults. As a result, there is a push from the medical community for even more adults, as well as children to be vaccinated in order to prevent such outbreaks.
Didn’t have the vaccine as a child? That’s okay, there’s still time! It is really important to remember that it is never too late to catch up on childhood vaccinations. There is no upper age limit for receiving the MMR vaccine and so if you missed out on being immunised, it is strongly recommended that you have a “catch up” vaccine. This is especially important for anyone starting college or university, travelling abroad, planning a pregnancy or if you are a frontline health or care worker as your risk of exposure or serious health complications is increased.
As the 30th anniversary of the MMR vaccine is honoured, England’s top doctor and Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Prof Dame Sally Davies, has expressed her concerns that the uptake of the vaccine is “not good enough” and explains the dangers of children not receiving the vaccine.
She suggests that the reason some people are not having their children vaccinated is the result of people listening to anti-vaccine propaganda “myths” and “social media fake news”. She stresses the importance of listening to the science that provides clear evidence that the MMR vaccine is both safe and effective, and has helped “save millions of lives”.
Many of the false concerns over the MMR vaccine originated from a now-discredited study by former doctor, Andrew Wakefield, who incorrectly linked the MMR vaccine to autism back in 1998. This research has since been completely discredited and as a result, Andrew Wakefield was struck off the medical register for professional misconduct. Ever since, the medical community has worked hard to alleviate any lingering concerns over the safety of the MMR vaccine.
Our wonderful nurses at Fleet Street Clinic have been administering the MMR vaccine to our patients for over 25 years and we strongly believe in protecting all our patients with safe and effective vaccinations.
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