Wandsworth’s director of public health has urged parents to make sure their children have had the MMR jab, following an outbreak of measles in South Wales.
Houda al Sharifi warns that the outbreak could easily spread to London and cause more infections in Wandsworth.
London traditionally has a lower rate of immunisation take up because it has a transient population and a higher number of people from other countries living here. Following the now-discredited paper linking the MMR vaccine with autism, the number of children being immunised against measles plummeted to 52 per cent in Wandsworth in 2003/4.
The rate has now picked up to 80 per cent, but Mrs al Sharifi warns this is still not enough to prevent the spread of measles in the borough.
"It is clear from what is happening in South Wales how important it is to be vaccinated, and now is the time to do it."
"It's important that people know what to do with measles and getting immunised. Talk to your GP, contact our local Immunisation helpline for more information or visit one of our drop in immunisation clinics".
The council's public health department is also urging all GP practices to identify and offer MMR jab to all children and young people.
Dr Nicola Jones, GP & Chair of Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group, which represents the borough's GP practices, said,
"Measles is a serious yet preventable disease. The MMR vaccination is offered to all children but there are some who were never immunised and, as a result, are at risk of infection.
The previous controversy about the safety of the vaccine is now known to be false. MMR is safe and will prevent your child from measles infection and the sometimes serious complications it can cause. It is available from your GP surgery."
If you are worried about measles and are unsure whether you or your child have had the MMR jab contact your GP to double check and arrange an appointment if necessary.
You can also get the MMR jab at one of Wandsworth's out-of-hours community immunisation clinics:
- St John's Therapy Centre every Wednesday between 3 pm and 6.40pm
- Balham Health Centre every Saturday between 11am and 12noon
And you can call the local Immunisation hotline on 020 8812 6090 or 020 8812 6091 or visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/fis