Fears children could die as measles vaccination figures fall in Liverpool

The rate of MMR vaccination in parts of Liverpool is as low as 50% - the World Health Organisation's target is 95%.
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A consultant at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital has said he fears children will die unless vaccination figures for measles improve amid an NHS drive for kids to get their MMR shots. The rate of vaccination - which treats measles, mumps and rubella - in parts of Liverpool is as low as 50%.

Alder Hey's Professor Calum Semple said that is lower than the vaccination rate when there was a measles outbreak in the city in 2012. Speaking to the BBC, Semple said health professionals were working with community groups to encourage people to have their kids vaccinated, and warned an outbreak could lead to "several hundred cases... deaths and disability".

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Measles cases are currently rising across the country and there is an ongoing outbreak in the West Midlands, which Semple, a consultant respiratory paediatrician, said was "entirely down to lack of vaccination".

In the wider north west, cases of vaccination against the disease known as one of the most infectious in the world have dropped to 85.2% in children by the age of five. This is almost 10% lower than the World Health Organisation's target of 95% vaccination against the disease in kids up to the age of five.

The NHS is pushing to have more children vaccinated to curb the falling figures. The disease can be easy to miss until a rash forms, and symptoms include a high fever, sore, red, watery eyes, coughing, aching and feeling generally unwell and a blotchy, red-brown rash which appears after initial symptoms usually.

A red rash on the skin - such as measles. Image: weerapat1003 - stock.adobe.com                    A red rash on the skin - such as measles. Image: weerapat1003 - stock.adobe.com
A red rash on the skin - such as measles. Image: weerapat1003 - stock.adobe.com

Parents of kids aged 6-11 in the north west are urged to urgently rebook any missed MMR vaccinations at their GP practice.

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Dr Merav Kliner, Regional Deputy Director for UK Health Security Agency North West, said:  “The ongoing measles outbreak in the West Midlands remains a concern. MMR vaccine coverage has been falling for the last decade with one out of 10 children starting school in England not protected and so there is a real risk that this outbreak could spread to other towns and cities including in the North West.

“Measles can be a serious infection that can lead to complications especially in young children and those with weakened immune systems, but it is completely preventable. Parents can check their children’s red book to see if they are up to date and contact their GP surgery to book an appointment.”

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