Holidaymakers urged to check their MMR vaccine status

Author: Jo Carlowe
Holidaymakers urged to check their MMR vaccine status

Holidaymakers should check they are up to date with their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinations before travelling abroad, health officials have advised today.

Public Health England (PHE) and the travel industry is calling on the public to check their MMR vaccine status as measles outbreaks continue across Europe.

Measles is still endemic in many countries around the world, PHE warns, with France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany among the countries reporting the highest case counts according to the European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

PHE data published at the end of May showed that measles remains a threat to the UK population, with 231 cases confirmed in England in the first quarter of 2019. The number of cases confirmed in England has been rising since 2018, with many linked to importations from Europe. Young people and adults aged 15 and over who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were young, and some under-vaccinated communities have been particularly affected.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “Measles can kill and is incredibly easy to catch, especially if you’re not vaccinated and travelling to affected countries. If you’re in any doubt about your – or your child’s - vaccination status, ask your GP or check your child’s Red Book. Before you travel you should ensure you and your family are up to date with all currently recommended UK vaccines and MMR is especially important if you’re planning to travel throughout the summer due to the ongoing outbreaks happening across Europe. It’s never too late to get protected.”

Nikki White, Association of British Travel Agents, director of destinations and sustainability said: “Travellers might not typically think to check vaccination requirements for travel to Europe, but we encourage everyone to check their health records and catch-up on any missed vaccinations wherever they are travelling to. No matter where people are going on holiday, we always encourage them to check the Foreign Office’s travel advice at the time of booking and before they are due to travel to make sure they are aware of the latest information about the destination and any health requirements.”