child gets vaccinated with injection
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Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated as nine cases of measles have been declared in Gwent.

Public health officials want parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine to avoid catching measles.

Public Health Wales has been working with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to identify contacts of all cases and has provided them with advice on what action to take and information about the signs and symptoms of measles. 

Beverley Griggs, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales and Chair of the multi-agency Outbreak Control Team, is highlighting the role parents can play in preventing the spread of measles through vaccination.

“Measles is a highly infectious disease and can have serious complications, particularly for babies, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women.

“Measles can be prevented by the highly effective and safe MMR vaccine. Parents and carers should note that children who have not received a full course of MMR may have to be withdrawn from school for up to 21 days, if they are identified as a contact of a measles case. We understand that this may have an impact on children who are due to sit exams soon and we would ask for parents continued support to stop further cases of measles in the community.

“In addition, adults who have never had measles or the MMR vaccine and who are in close contact with children are also urged to ensure they speak to their GP about vaccination.”

Prof Tracy Daszkiewicz, executive director for public health at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “I would ask all parents in Gwent to ensure that their children have received their MMR vaccinations at the appropriate age – that is, the first dose at around 12 months with the second booster dose at around three years and four months old.   However, if your child has not yet had the MMR vaccine, they can still come forward for their vaccine. It is never too late to be vaccinated.

“It is very easy for parents to check their child’s vaccination status, they can look at their red book, or visit their local health board’s website. If they live in Gwent, they can call the vaccination team on 0300 303 1373 to arrange an MMR vaccine.

“I also encourage people to be aware of the early symptoms which include; a high temperature, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (painful, red eyes) and sometimes small white spots on the inside of the mouth. Should you suspect measles, stay at home and contact your GP for an urgent appointment or call 111.”

More information about the MMR vaccine is available at