Parents across East Sussex are being urged to protect their children and their communities by making sure they get the MMR jab, for measles, mumps and rubella.
East Sussex County Council and the Public Health team in East Sussex have teamed up to launch a new campaign to increase uptake.
The campaign, titled Remember MMR, kicks off this week and will use social media, in particular a Facebook page, to reach residents with public health messages in a fun, informative and community-based way.
Diana Grice, the Director of Public Health for East Sussex, said: “As a public health doctor and as a parent I believe that the MMR vaccination is the only effective way of protecting children and the wider community from these life-threatening diseases.”
“It's very encouraging that we've seen a return of public confidence in MMR and an increase in the number of parents getting their children vaccinated, but we have not vaccinated all those we need to yet. It's vital people realise that when they make a decision about MMR they are not only protecting their own children but are also playing a part in protecting the community.”
A poster campaign in GP surgeries, children's centres and libraries will raise awareness of the campaign and encourage people to visit the Facebook. page.
Every time someone shares the message about the campaign via our Facebook page, our sponsors will donate Days Out tickets to local children's charities. These tickets for days out to local East Sussex attractions will be used by children and families supported by the charities.
People can get more information and get involved in the Remember MMR campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/ShareaSmileSussex
Dr Grice added: “I'm grateful to GP surgeries, libraries, children's centres and schools for their help in getting the message out. I hope large numbers of people visit the Facebook page and get involved in spreading the MMR message.”
The MMR jab is given to children aged 12-13 months and is followed by a pre-school booster. It is important children get both of these vaccinations and, if they do, they will be protected for the rest of their lives.
Uptake rates across the county vary. In the East Sussex Downs and Weald area the rates are 91% for children aged 2 and 84% at age five. In the Hastings and Rother area they are 92% at two years and 85% at five years. The target is to achieve 95% across the board.
The diseases can be contracted at any age, and the MMR jab can be given to adults who have missed the jabs in childhood, as well as to children.
Outbreaks of measles in Sussex have occurred as a result of not having achieved a 95% vaccination rate – the level considered essential for controlling and preventing outbreaks.
The charities that will benefit as people share the MMR message are Demelza, Children with Cancer Fund and FSN – Fellowship of St Nicholas.
Activities and days out have been provided by: Paradise Park, Spring Barn Farm, Smugglers Adventure, Blue Reef Aquarium, The Mill Toy and Pedal Car Museum, Bedgebury – The National Pinetum and Forest, Herstmonceux Castle, Adventureland, Fort Fun and Rocky's, Laser Quest and Lloyds Lanes, Seven Sisters Sheep Centre, Hailsham Lagoon Leisure Centre, Knockhatch Adventure Park, Bexhill Leisure Centre, Newhaven Fort, Yesterday's World, Clambers Indoor Soft Play Centre, Brighton Bowlplex, Blackstock Farm, Washbrooks Farm, Brighton Sealife Centre, Spray Watersports.