NHS uses mobile clinics as urgent campaign launched for missed measles vaccinations
Millions of parents and carers in England are being urged to book their children in for their missed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of a major new NHS drive to protect children from becoming seriously unwell, as measles cases continue to rise across the country.Laura Nash
Published 08 February 2024
Millions of parents and carers in England are being urged to book their children in for their missed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of a major new NHS drive to protect children from becoming seriously unwell, as measles cases continue to rise across the country.
The NHS campaign will see all parents of children aged from six to 11 years contacted encouraging them to make an appointment with their child’s GP practice for their missed MMR vaccine. NHS figures show more than 3.4 million children under the age of 16 years are unprotected and at risk of catching these serious and completely preventable diseases.*
Steve Russell, NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening, said: “The NHS is acting quickly to tackle the spread of measles by contacting one million people aged between 11 and 25 across London and the Midlands to urge them to get their vaccine.”
“People who are unvaccinated can get catch-up jabs at MMR pop-ups in schools and other convenient places while GPs, teachers and trusted community leaders are encouraging groups that are less likely to get their jab to come forward.”
In some cities, such as Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham, only 75% of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated, the lowest level for more than a decade. Dozens of children have been admitted to hospital in Birmingham, in the country’s biggest measles outbreak since the 1990s.
How mobile vaccination clinics can help
The new NHS England vaccination strategy highlights the importance of engaging with communities and providing clinics in convenient and accessible locations. Mobile clinics support by:
- Surmounting traditional barriers to underserved communities
- Connecting with those most at-risk with targeted locations
- Improving accessibility and convenience
We have worked successfully in the past with the NHS in Hackney and Southwest Essex to vaccinate children and adults against measles and create awareness of the risks involved in not vaccinating children. Using mobile units, a roadshow provided on-the-spot vaccinations to all unprotected children and adults in the area and raised the significance of the need for vaccinations, while also educating parents about the associated risks.
Kathy Abbott, Immunisation Manager for NHS Southwest Essex, said: “By taking the clinic out into the community, directly to where children and parents are, we were quickly able to improve vaccination levels. Parents’ responses to previous MMR appeals have been disappointing but this time we offered them a very quick and convenient service. The roadshow helped deliver a high-profile marketing campaign explaining why vaccination is so important.”
A total of 2,191 vaccinations provided over both campaigns was 64% higher than the organisation’s initial target.
Flexible response is vital
The current MMR crisis requires rapid intervention across the country, with a particular focus on the West Midlands.* As of 18 January, there had been 216 confirmed cases and 103 probable cases in the West Midlands since 1 October 2023. Around 80% of cases have been seen in Birmingham, with about 10% in Coventry, the majority being in children aged under 10 years.
Following a UKHSA risk assessment published last July, which warned of the potential for such outbreaks, there’s been concern that unless urgent action is taken, it’s likely that the measles virus will spread rapidly to other areas with low MMR vaccine uptake.
Professor Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UKHSA, said: “Colleagues across the West Midlands have worked tirelessly to try to control the outbreak, but with vaccine uptake in some communities so low, there is now a very real risk of seeing the virus spread in other towns and cities.”
EMS Healthcare stands ready to support vaccination programmes with our adaptable fleet – from two-bay clinics which can easily access remote areas and inner-city centres, to larger eight-bay solutions that can be set up in communities.
“Children who get measles can be very poorly and some will suffer life changing complications. The best way for parents to protect their children from measles is the MMR vaccine. Two doses of the MMR vaccine give lifelong protection and it’s never too late to catch up.”
To learn more about what we can offer, please visit: https://www.ems-healthcare.com/clinical-capacity/mobile-vaccination-units/