Advice for parents during the current outbreak
You will be aware that there is a major measles outbreak in Swansea and the surrounding area. To date, there have been 765 cases, with 77 people hospitalised. Measles is a nasty virus, which as well as being very unpleasant, can have complications. Some of these complications can be serious, and in rare cases, fatal.
Our records show that there are 488 pupils in Bishop Gore Comprehensive School who are at risk from catching measles. This is because they have either not had any MMR vaccinations, or they’ve only had one MMR instead of two. Measles is very infectious, and children and adolescents who have not had the complete course of MMR are at high risk of becoming ill with measles during this outbreak.
We have a vaccination team at your school on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th of April. We would urge that any child who has not had their MMR vaccinations, or who are under-vaccinated, take this important opportunity to get their jabs.
MMR is a simple and safe jab which will protect your child’s health, could save their life, and will help protect other children too. It is the only precaution you can take during this measles outbreak. The MMR jab is recommended by the World Health Organization, UK Department of Health and Public Health Wales as the most effective and safe way to protect children against measles.
We have written individual letters to parents of children who, according to our most recent records, we have identified as being at risk. We are delivering these letters to the school on Monday, for these children to take home to their parents.
A consent form will be included with the letters, and we ask that you fill the form in, sign it, and return it to the school the next day. Alternatively, if you know your child has not had MMR, you can download and print off a consent form here for you to complete in advance, which your child can take to school on Monday.
We apologise for the short timescale, but the size of this measles outbreak makes it imperative that we begin vaccinations this week.
Children who have received both their scheduled MMR vaccinations, (normally given at 13 months-old, and again at three years and four months-old) are fully protected and do not need additional MMR vaccinations.
For further details about measles and MMR, please see the information section of this webpage.
Dr Sara Hayes,
Director of Public Health
ABMU Health Board
The health and welfare of our pupils is always one of our main concerns; and during this serious outbreak of measles, we are working in close partnership with the NHS to do everything possible to protect children.
Not only is the health of pupils at risk if they are not fully vaccinated, but if they fall ill they are likely to miss important exams in the coming weeks, as there is currently no sign of this measles outbreak receding.
We welcome the vaccination team to our school this week, and urge parents of pupils who are not fully vaccinated to take this opportunity to protect their children.
What children should be vaccinated?
Our target group is school-age children who missed their MMR jabs when they were little. They may have had only their first MMR jab and missed their second vaccination, or had no MMR at all. These children should receive MMR.
If your child has had both MMR jabs (usually given at age 13 months and again at pre-school age, at three years, four months) then they are fully protected and do not need any additional MMR.
When is the vaccination team in school?
Our vaccination team will be in Bishop Gore on Wednesday and Thursday 17th and 18th April. There is no need for parents to attend the sessions.
Will you let me know if my child is at risk?
We have checked our records and written individual letters to parents of children we believe need MMR jabs. These letters are being delivered to the school, and will be given to the children on Monday (15th) to take home to their parents. With the letter will be a consent form, which we ask you to sign, and then return the next day to the school.
We know this is short notice, but we need to begin vaccinations urgently, so your cooperation is much appreciated. If you know your child needs MMR, you can also download and print off the consent form here. Please sign it and ask your child to return it to their teacher straight away.
If your child has very recently had their MMR jabs - at your GP surgery or one of our drop-in clinics - then they will not need to take part in the school vaccination session. (Our records may not yet reflect very recent vaccinations, so we may have still sent you a letter.) However, if this vaccination was their first MMR, they will still need a second one a month later - with their GP.
What about my other children?
If your child has siblings who have not received their scheduled MMR vaccine, then please see your GP as soon as possible. During this outbreak, babies can have their first MMR jab earlier than normal, from six months old. The follow-up MMR jab can also be given ahead of schedule, for children aged 12 months to three years. There must be a gap of one month between the two vaccinations (to allow the MMR to become effective).
MMR - Frequently Asked Questions
Please see MMR section on Public Health Wales Measles info
Recent measles Press releases:
Public Health Wales: 9th April 2013: Measles cases in Swansea outbreak pass 600
ABMU 8th April 2013: Parents urged to take kids for MMR before school exams begin
ABMU: 6th April 2013: Fantastic response by parents to MMR call
Public Health Wales: 5th April 2013: Nearly 600 people receive MMR in past week
Public health Wales, 3rd April 2013: MMR jab protection vital as measles cases top 500
ABMU 28th March 2013: Retired GP warns about measles
For earlier measles press releases, please see: News Index page
If you have any further questions, please contact your GP for advice.
Let's knock the spots off measles - has your child had their MMR?