According to recent figures, the number of measles cases in England is rising and outbreaks are occurring following a decade of relatively low vaccination uptake.
Estimates suggest that an epidemic in England could result in 30,000 cases or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 100,000 cases of measles in children and young people.
PCTs are being asked to reduce the risk of a measles epidemic occurring, particularly if the coverage in their area is low or has been identified as a local priority. The DoH will support PCTs in delivering this programme by providing an additional 500,000 doses of MMR vaccine, information materials and funding.
The first phase of the catch-up programme will be to offer MMR vaccine to those aged 13 months to 18 years who have not received any MMR vaccine. This group should be the main priority for the catch-up campaign until late October 2008.
Further information: DoH letter to healthcare professionals