PARENTS whose children have not had the MMR jab are being targeted in a bid to cut the risk of a measles outbreak as thousands have not had it.
The campaign is specificially aimed at 10 to 16-year-olds whose parents may have avoided the MMR amid claims it was linked to autism.
The concerns sparked outrage around 13 years ago but the claims have since been discredited.
Letters are now being sent offering the jab to children aged 10 to 16 and parents are being urged not to ignore the offer.
Around 3,900 in this age group in Staffordshire have not had any MMR vaccination and, as these children are at greatest risk, they are being targeted first as part of a national summer MMR catch-up programme.
A further 4,000 have had one dose. The full vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella is two doses.
Councillor Robbie Marshall, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We do not have an outbreak of measles in Staffordshire, but we have seen from the cases in South Wales how quickly these can occur.
“The best way to protect our children and the wider community from the serious and potentially life-threatening effects of measles is to ensure that children are vaccinated and I would urge parents to take up this offer if they receive a letter.”
Latest figures show there were 15 reported cases of measles in the West Midlands in May – with one case being in Staffordshire.
Further information about the MMR catch-up programme is available at http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/04April/Pages/New-MMR-catch-up-campaign-one-million-children-targeted.aspx