One in 10 children are starting school at risk of measles due to plummeting MMR vaccination rates – with evidence showing that many parents simply do not understand the risks measles can pose.
Too many young people are still not being taught the basics of relationships and sex education (RSE) despite the subject having now been mandatory for 18 months.
Vulnerable teenagers are being let down by a care system that is not fit-for-purpose and often places them in greater danger of exploitation.
Coverage for the two doses of the MMR vaccine in five-year-olds in England is currently 85.5%, well below the 95% that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in order to stop measles from spreading.
Coverage of the first dose for 2-year-olds has also dropped to 88.6%. It means that more than one in 10 children are not fully protected and at risk of catching measles.
Measles is highly contagious and can lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain, which require hospitalisation and on rare occasions can lead to long-term disability or death.
Children are offered two doses of the MMR vaccine by their registered GP surgery, the first when they turn one and the second at around 3 years and 4 months, before they start nursery or school.
It is thought that COVID-19 lockdowns have prevented some parents from attending GP surgeries to take up vaccinations. However, this does not change the fact that MMR vaccination rates have been declining for some time now.
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