Skip to main content

Council supports MMR vaccine catch-up programme to tackle threat of Measles

Mid Ulster District Council is supporting the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) vaccination programme aimed at curbing the growing threat of measles.

From 6 February first and second doses of the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine have been available to anyone aged between 12 months and 25 years who missed getting the vaccines first time around. Those who have never received any doses of MMR vaccine should book urgently to allow one month between dose one and dose two before the campaign closes at the end of March.

After a worrying drop in uptake in recent years and a growing number of measles cases in the UK and Europe, the PHA is urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

Latest figures from the PHA show that 88.8% of the population here had received their first dose of MMR at two years of age and 85.4% had received their second dose of MMR when reported at five years of age, meaning that it falls below the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation that at least 95% of children should be fully vaccinated for diseases, in order to prevent outbreaks.
Speaking about the campaign, Chair of the Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy said,

I want to emphasise the critical importance of prioritising the health and well-being of our community. In light of recent developments and the ongoing global efforts to combat preventable diseases, I am supporting the implementation of the PHA’s comprehensive MMR vaccine programme in our district. Vaccines help prevent the spread of contagious diseases, safeguarding the health of individuals, especially our children. The MMR vaccine, in particular, protects against measles, mumps, and rubella – diseases that can have serious consequences if left unchecked. By supporting and participating in this MMR vaccine initiative, we not only protect ourselves and our families but also contribute to the overall resilience of our community against these preventable diseases.

The MMR vaccination is free here with the first dose being offered when a child is one year old and the second when they are 3 years and 4 months old. Receiving both doses provides long-lasting protection.

Louise Flanagan, Consultant in Public Health at the PHA, said: “As a whole the childhood vaccination programme has been a success, with Northern Ireland traditionally having uptake rates above the UK average, which is why we have seen very few cases of illnesses such as measles compared with the rest of the UK. However, some vaccines have seen a decline in uptake in recent years, which risks a return of some of the diseases that they offer protection against.

“The diseases that these vaccines protect against can be life-changing and even deadly. No parent wants this for their child especially when these diseases are easily preventable. The vaccine is proven to be safe and has been used since the early 1980s. Please don’t put the MMR vaccine off, check now that your children are fully up to date with their MMR. Check your child’s red book and get in touch with your GP practice if you are not sure.”

Any children or young adults up to the age of 25 who missed getting the vaccines first time around will have the opportunity to receive it now. Children between 12 months and 5 years of age can get the vaccine through their GP practice and those aged 6 years to 25 years of age can attend an HSC Trust vaccination clinic. Information on trust clinics can be found at If you’re an adult up to the age of 25 and are unsure if you are fully-vaccinated, contact your GP surgery to check. The MMR catch-up campaign will run until 31 March 2024.