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Wales' Chief Medical Officer calls for immediate measles vaccination for children

Wales' top health official has alerted the public to the need for full measles immunization among children.
Sir Frank Atherton cautions that without a boost in MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccinations, outbreaks may increase. He advises parents to ensure their children get the required shots promptly.

The World Health Organization advocates for a 95% double vaccination rate by age five; however, the current UK rate falls short with only 89.5% in Wales and 84.5% across the UK - the lowest since 2010-11.

Recent UK measles outbreaks have occurred in Cardiff and Birmingham, with Birmingham Children's Hospital seeing a record high in measles cases.

The highly contagious disease, which spreads swiftly in places like schools, can be effectively prevented with two doses of the MMR vaccine, conferring a 99% immunity against measles and rubella, and 88% against mumps.

Symptoms of measles include fever, red sore eyes, coughing, and a blotchy rash, resolving typically in 7-10 days but potentially leading to severe complications, especially in vulnerable groups like babies, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.

Urgent action has been requested from Welsh health boards to ensure at least 90% of school pupils receive full vaccination by July's end. Unvaccinated individuals may face a 21-day isolation during outbreaks to prevent disease spread.

Officials will launch plans aiming to enhance MMR vaccination uptake in the near future.

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