Measles cases have recently risen in England. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.
Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:
"Measles is a highly infectious disease and cases are currently on the rise in England due to vaccination rates not being high enough to stop its spread. The Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics for England in 2022-23 showed that only 84.5% of children receive the second MMR vaccine dose by age 5 – well below the 95% level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Lower levels of vaccination mean that harmful diseases can spread within our communities, infecting people who have not been vaccinated, including vulnerable individuals who are unable to have vaccinations.
"The best possible protection available against this serious illness is vaccination and it is never too late to get vaccinated. We encourage parents to ensure their children are up to date with their MMR vaccines and catch up on any missed ones as soon as possible.
"The recently published NHS Vaccination Strategy has strong ambitions for building up community vaccination services that will be important in tackling low vaccination rates and we call for its urgent implementation to help to stop measles outbreaks and protect our communities."
Notes for editors
You can read the full NHS vaccination strategy at: www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/nhs-vaccination-strategy.
You can read the full NHS Digital report on Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics 2022–23 at https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-immunisation-statistics/england-2022-23.
You can download a copy of the British Society for Immunology’s booklet on “A guide to childhood vaccinations”. This guide is designed to answer common questions that parents have around how vaccinations work and why they are important.
For more information, please contact:
Teresa Prados, Senior Communications Manager
Tel: +44(0) 7464 621 014
Jennie Evans, Director of External Affairs
Tel: +44(0) 7703 807 444
The British Society for Immunology is the UK organisation representing scientists and clinicians who study the immune system.