Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 2nd July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Brady Baroness Brady Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address any increase in the number of people infected with measles; and whether they have any plans to introduce compulsory measles vaccinations for children before they start school.

Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Vaccinations in the United Kingdom are undertaken through informed consent. Although there has been a small decline in coverage in England since 2013, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage through the routine programme (first dose given at one year and the second at three years and four months) remains high. Public Health England has said that the majority of recent measles cases are in those not eligible through this routine programme. A new MMR vaccine catch-up programme for 10- and 11-year olds that previously missed the MMR vaccine was introduced in April this year. In addition, the MMR vaccine can also be given on the National Health Service to children who missed routine vaccination and adults who may need it.

In January 2019, the UK Measles and Rubella elimination strategy was published. A multi-agency group has been established to take forward the actions in the strategy in England. Local teams are expected to work with local stakeholders to develop measles and rubella elimination action plans.

Public Health England monitors vaccine uptake and works with NHS England to increase uptake. This year, NHS England is undertaking a fundamental review of general practitioner vaccinations and immunisation standards, funding, and procurement. This will support the goal of improving immunisation coverage, using local coordinators to target variation and improve groups and areas with low vaccine uptake.

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