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Measles vaccination Facebook campaign launched

The campaign hopes to encourage parents to ensure their children get both doses of the MMR vaccine. Credit: Public Health England

The Government is launching a £20 million campaign to vaccinate a generation of children thought to be the cause of a measles outbreak.

This year is on course to be the worst year for measles outbreaks in two decades.

Already, in the first three months there have been 587 cases in England.

For more information visit the Get Vaccinated England Facebook page.

Nick Clegg says his children have all had the MMR jab

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told LBC radio that his three sons have all had the MMR jab.

He added:

I think you have to have trust in the people who look at this.

They have no axe to grind, they just want to do the right thing and come up with the right science.

They have said very categorically that the concern about a link between MMR and other conditions is just not proven, and they say really explicitly that it is really bad for your children's health if you don't take this action.

I really would urge parents, whatever your misgivings, do what people who know about this most say is right for your children - get that course of jabs done.

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48 cases of measles in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire this year

Health experts are urging parents to get their children vaccinated Credit: PA file picture

A national programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children has been announced today.

It comes after 48 people were diagnosed with the disease in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in the last three months.

The aim of the programme, led by Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health, is to prevent measles outbreaks by vaccinating as many unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 10-16 year olds as possible in time for the next school year.

New figures published today show high numbers of confirmed measles cases in England in the first three months of 2013, reaching 587 by end of March, following a record annual high of almost 2,000 cases in 2012.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England said, “Measles is a potentially fatal but entirely preventable disease so we are very disappointed that measles cases have recently increased in England.

"Those who have not been vaccinated should urgently seek at least one dose of MMR vaccination which will give them 95 per cent protection against measles. A second dose is then needed to provide almost complete protection.

"Measles is not a mild illness – it is very unpleasant and can lead to serious complications as we have seen with more than 100 children in England being hospitalised so far this year."

What is the MMR jab?

The most effective way of preventing measles is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The first MMR vaccination should be given when your child is around 13 months old. A booster is given before your child starts school.

If your child is younger than 13 months and you think they may have been exposed to the measles virus, see your GP immediately.

The MMR may be given if they are over six months old, or they may be given antibodies for immediate protection if they are younger than six months old.

The NHS Choices website has more information on the MMR jab.

Dr Hilary: Biggest increase in rubella since 1999

Daybreak's Health Editor Dr Hilary said the risks of not having the MMR jab go beyond the measles epidemic.

He said charities concerned with rubella said they have had the biggest increase in the disease since 1999.

"The added bonus of having the MMR is not just to protect against measles but mumps and rubella as well," he added.

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London at risk of measles outbreak

The capital has the lowest level of MMR vaccination take up in the country, and this puts it at particular risk of suffering a measles outbreak.

With the number of cases of the disease already rising, Public Health England are so concerned they're launching a catch-up vaccination programme.

They're particularly concerned about those aged 10-16 who may have missed out on the vaccine in the wake of the Andrew Wakefield scandal.

There have so far been 68 cases of measles in the capital so far this year- compared to just 137 for the whole of last year.

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