dose flu vaccine, jab, pic by USACE

South Cheshire pharmacies are among the first in the country to pilot a new initiative offering children aged 5-11 to get the MMR vaccine.

Fourteen chemists across Cheshire and Merseyside are involved in the project being trialled in the North West.

The pilot aims to support a national call and recall of under-vaccinated children and help increase MMR vaccines.

Uptake of both doses of vaccine, usually given to children aged one and then a second vaccine at around three years and four months, is 85.2% in the North West – and lower than 80% in some areas.

Like many parts of the country, this is significantly lower than the World Health Organisation target of 95% coverage with two doses of MMR vaccine by five-years-old.

Tricia Spedding, regional deputy head of Public Health for NHS England – North West, said: “Measles is a highly infectious illness – complications can be life changing with dangers including blindness, deafness and swelling of the brain.

“Children who have not yet had both doses of the MMR vaccination are at risk of catching this very serious but completely preventable disease.

“By offering the MMR vaccine in pharmacies to children who missed one or both doses, we are hoping to make it easier and more convenient for parents to get their children protected.”

A list of participating pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside can be found here: Measles – NHS Cheshire and Merseyside

Parents of 5- to 11-year-olds who are overdue one or both doses of MMR will be able to walk in, with no appointment needed, although there may be a short wait if the pharmacist is busy.

GP practices will also be able to refer patients for MMR vaccination in a participating pharmacy.

The pharmacy scheme is one of a number of initiatives that have been introduced in the North West over the past two months to increase MMR vaccine uptake in response to rising measles cases.

Other schemes include:

  • the introduction of vaccine catch-up clinics in general practice, including evening and weekend sessions
  • roving and outreach vaccine clinics in the community, including the Living Well Bus in Cheshire and Merseyside
  • extra vaccination sessions being put on by school aged immunisation providers in schools in some areas where uptake is lower

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