Measles is spreading, and uptake of the MMR vaccine which protects against it is low in London. All eligible children should be protected by having two doses of the vaccine at 12 months and at 3 years and 4 months. If you or your children have missed either dose you should catch-up as soon as possible to make sure you are protected.
Find out about catch-up clinics in your borough and how to book for children from reception age to year 13.
If you’re not sure if your child has had both doses of the MMR vaccine, check their red book or contact your local GP.
You don’t have to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated, but if you are new to the UK you need to contact your local GP to get up to date.
Read on for some key information about measles and the MMR vaccine and see more on the NHS website about how safe and effective the vaccine is.
Measles is very serious
Measles is a serious disease caused by a very infectious virus. It can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. It has no cure, so prevention through vaccination is the only way to reduce the risk of harm to your family.
New statistics from the UKHSA show that there were 1,603 suspected cases of measles in England and Wales in 2023 – an increase from 735 cases in 2022 and just 360 the year before.
Measles is extremely infectious, with a basic reproduction number (R0) estimated around 15 to 20 (that means a single infected person can be expected to infect 15 to 20 other people, with each of them going on to infect the same number again – vaccination is the only way to break this chain of infection).
- Find out more in these national measles guidelines from UKHSA.
- Watch this video from Dr Leonora Weil, Public Health Consultant, UKHSA explaining why London is at risk of a measles outbreak.
- This video of Dr Colin Campbell, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, explains how infectious the measles virus is and the importance of the MMR vaccine.
The MMR vaccine
The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine.
It protects against 3 serious illnesses:
These highly infectious conditions can easily spread between unvaccinated people.
Getting vaccinated is important, as these conditions can also lead to serious problems including meningitis, hearing loss and problems during pregnancy.
There’s no evidence of any link between the MMR vaccine and autism. There are many studies that have investigated this.
The Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Project website has a list of MMR studies and their findings
In the UK we have two types of MMR vaccine – MMR VaxPro® and Priorix®. Priorix® does not contain gelatine and is as safe and effective as MMR VaxPro®
You can request this non-porcine option when you book your vaccination.
Book your appointment today
There are a number of routes to vaccination in north central London for those who need to get protected and we urge everyone to prioritise vaccination for them and their children over the coming days and weeks to tackle head-on this potential outbreak. Here is a reminder of how to book an appointment.