Epidemic prompts call over MMR jab

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PARENTS are being urged to use the Easter school break to arrange potentially life-saving measles protection for their children.

A measles epidemic centred on Swansea has underlined the need for protection.

There is increasing concern that pleas for thousands of unvaccinated children to be given the MMR jab are not being acted on.

Health experts in Wales warn that take-up for the jab is far too slow, putting lives at risk at the height of an epidemic.

Public Health Wales (PHW) warned this week that measles was spreading “at an alarming rate”.

Now a renewed call is being made for parents to use the Easter break to ensure their children return to school with full protection.

Robert Francis-Davies, a Swansea councillor and grandfather of five children, said rising concern has driven him to speak out.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the MMR jab is literally a life-saver,” the Labour councillor for the Morriston area said.

“There is no excuse for failing to get your children protected and infected children can cause grave problems for others, don’t forget.

“Public Health Wales has been saying throughout the last month that the unprotected pose a grim risk to those who cannot have the jab. There is a host of vulnerable people who can be infected, from pregnant women to babies, toddlers, leukaemia suffers – it’s frightening.

“I am a grandfather of five children under the age of 10 and I have encouraged all my children to ensure their children have the MMR jab. The worst thing you can do for your child in the middle of a measles epidemic is leave him or her unprotected.

“The Easter half-term break is the ideal time to arrange with your GP to get the jab so please don’t waste the opportunity.”

Dr Marion Lyons, PHW director of health protection, has repeatedly warned that measles can leave unprotected children brain-damaged or dead.

The latest warning comes as the number of cases has more than doubled to 432 in the last three weeks.