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Children's health

19th Mar 2024

HSE rolls out measles MMR vaccine catch-up programme

Jody Coffey


“The only protection against measles is vaccination”

The HSE has announced details of a Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine catch-up campaign in a bid to protect against the spread of measles.

This comes as there has been a spike in cases in the UK and Europe, as well as the third confirmed case of the measles here in Ireland.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, which in severe cases can prove fatal.

With the announcement of the HSE MMR catch-up programme, Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE National Immunisation Office, stresses that the only protection against the virus is vaccination.

According to the World Health Organisation, around 95 per cent of the population needs to be vaccinated against measles to achieve herd immunity.

“Measles is highly infectious and can be an acute and serious infection. It causes a rash illness, with cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and high fever,” Dr Jessop explains.

“Complications of measles include ear infections, pneumonia, febrile seizures and less commonly encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and even death.

“The only protection against measles is vaccination. Two doses of MMR vaccine are needed and if a child or young adult is not fully protected then MMR vaccines can be obtained from your GP or HSE Vaccination Clinic.”

The MMR catch-up programme will focus on administering the vaccine to key groups who may have missed their vaccine:

These include:

  • Children
  • Young adults
  • Health and care workers

How to avail of the vaccine

While the MMR vaccines are available free of charge from GPs to all groups, it will primarily focus on delivering it to those under 18 years of age and from HSE community clinics for everyone eligible who is aged 5 years and over.

A list of Vaccination Clinics is available here.

You can book an appointment here, with some walk-in appointments also available.

The HSE will also provide targeted clinics for specific groups.

These include students and young people in education settings, disadvantaged groups including refugees, applicants seeking protection, and other minority groups.