HEALTH Minister Edwin Poot has announced that an MMR vaccination programme is to be made available for all children aged between five and 15.
It is being billed as a ‘catch-up programme’ for Northern Ireland aimed at preventing measles outbreaks similar to those in England and Wales.
The programme will begin in the next few weeks and is expected to finish by September.
Parents or guardians whose children require vaccination will be advised to contact their GP.
The MMR vaccination is usually given shortly after a child’s first birthday – the vaccination programme is aimed at those who did not receive one.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “Although uptake rates of the MMR have traditionally been very high in Northern Ireland, there are still some children who remain unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.
“Measles is a very serious illness and is extremely infectious.
“I would urge all parents to ensure their children are fully protected with the MMR vaccine, and would urge all young people who are not fully vaccinated to go to their GP and get the vaccine.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said measles was potentially fatal, but completely preventable.
“MMR vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent measles infection,” he said.
“It is never too late to vaccinate and I would encourage parents and young people to ensure they have had two doses of the MMR to protect against measles.”