Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Measles outbreak and MMR vaccinations: live webchat with Department of Health director of immunisation Professor David Salisbury, Tuesday 9 April, 2-3pm

(357 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Apr-13 16:40:39

In light of the measles outbreaks in South Wales and higher than average levels of measles in some areas of England, and concerns reflected in MNers' discussions, we've invited Professor David Salisbury, the government's director of immunisation, back to MN to be our webchat guest tomorrow, Tuesday 9 April, at 2pm.

Please post any questions you have about the MMR vaccine for your children, or yourself, to Professor Salisbury.

Thank you.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 09-Apr-13 12:59:17

I'm also interested in the issue of waning immunity. Both of my sons have reported cases of mumps among students at their universities. Clearly not the best time for males to be contracting this disease.

MMRrobocop Tue 09-Apr-13 13:07:31

Recent statements from Public Health spokespersons have been made: "...[MMR] is perfectly safe and perfectly effective." "That may mean that some young children will have three MMR jabs....That is not a problem. It is perfectly safe and perfectly effective." and one of the strongest claims: "There's no adverse effect to this extra jab [3rd MMR]....".

Given that these statements are at odds with the MMR vaccine manufacturers' own product sheets which have always provided information on associated adverse reactions, contraindications and the potential problems with maternal antibodies when a measles containing vaccine is given under twelve months. Given also that claims of "perfectly safe" are at odds with the Government's Vaccine Damage Payment Unit which has made awards to children severely damaged by MMR and other vaccines.

Do you support the Public Health speakers claims? Or will they be reprimanded for misleading parents and other health professionals?

CatherinaJTV Tue 09-Apr-13 13:11:43

MMRrobocop - the maternal antibodies would only interfer with the baby's own immune response but not cause anything untowards. Clearly, a chance at their own immunity is better than leaving infants totally unprotected (as they would be from 6 to 12 months AND they were before the advent of the measles containing vaccine).

williamwallace Tue 09-Apr-13 13:13:58

I would like to ask David Salisbury about the cases won in the USA and Italy of children with Autism and MMR vaccine?
My son who is 20 now has regressive autism and has no language and suffers from seizures, problems with sleeping and like so many children diagnosed with autism has a bowel disorder. All been ignored by the government and the medical establishment and especially the pharmaceutical companies who make billions every year and still our vaccine injured children suffer, shame on you.

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 13:15:03

testing, testing [by MNHQ]

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:54

Hello, Professor Salisbury is ready to start in a couple of minutes.

Thank you to him for coming on at short notice and thanks to everyone who has posted questions.

stinkingbishop Tue 09-Apr-13 14:00:55

Why can the DofH not deploy some its annual £44m communications budget in running a hard hitting national ad campaign which states simply, categorically, and with evidence that there is no link between MMR and autism, but that there definitely is a link between NOT having the vaccine and contracting a disease which can, at best, leave you blind, brain damaged and infertile? Isn't this the kind of vital public information job that the budget is meant to be for? Rather than endless 5 a day leaflets which are preaching to the converted and being ignored by the unconvertible?

It seems the Government instead relied on the media to mop up after the Wakefield scam, but an article saying 'don't panic, no link' simply isn't sexy enough for them. Likewise, can you see the Daily Mail apologising, especially given it's still backing Wakefield on his latest wheeze which is a reality show linking bowel and brain conditions.

MyDarlingClementine Tue 09-Apr-13 14:03:29

I have not done one of these before how does it work, i posted my question way back.

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:03:51

Good afternoon to everybody and thanks for inviting me back. I have seen the very large number of questions that have come in already and will do my best to work through them. Quite a few raise the same issues so please understand that your question may not be answered specifically but someone else’s answer may be relevant for you.

J2bump Tue 09-Apr-13 14:06:14

We're very close to the outbreak area (Cardiff) and my DD has just started nursery, she's coming up to 11 months -should she have an early vaccination or should she wait until she's 12 months?

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:09:40


My dd is 12yo and never had mmr.

She had single vaccines for measles and rubella. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to have been any single mumps vaccines available in the last 10 years.

I'm thinking of getting mmr for her now. In your opinion will she need a booster mmr or not as she's already had 2x single vaccines?


Your daughter should be well protected against measles and rubella because she has had two doses of each vaccine. But she will still be vulnerable to mumps. As you say, there is no single mumps vaccine available and so she needs two doses of MMR to get her protected against mumps. Having extra doses of measles and rubella vaccines won't do anything to her if she is already immune from her previous vaccinations. It would be a bit like me, as a paediatrician, going into a children's ward and being exposed to measles every day. As I am immune, nothing happens however many times I meet the viruses. Same for having multiple MMRs.

lightsandshapes Tue 09-Apr-13 14:11:08

Can you tell us how many children have died of measles in the uk in the last year? Or how many of the 500 who contracted in Swansea recently have had severe complications. Do you believe in any link between SIDS and vaccines?

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:13:34


Is measles passed on via a third party or only be direct contact with an infected person?

I have a three month old baby, whose granny lives in Swansea valley near Neath, and wanted to know if we should avoid her for a few weeks?

She doesn't have it, but is anti vaccines in general and could have been in contact with infected people. My daughter is too young to be offered MMR yet, and we don't live in the relevant area ourselves so are unlikely to be offered it early.

Baby is EBF and I have had all vaccines offered throughout my lifetime. Baby is also getting everything offered in line with current guidelines.

You can only catch measles from someone who is infectious and not from carriers without any symptoms. Most grannies are of an age that they probably had measles when they were children so they should be immune. Sorry to hear that the granny is anti-vaccine: it's the best way to protect your baby!

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:17:29


Does the MMR wear off or is immunity for life? Are young adults entering university at risk at a time when their immune system may be lower (due to late nights, partying etc)

Quite a few of you have asked about the length of protection that comes from MMR vaccine. For the first dose, you get about 90% immunity against measles, 95% immunity against rubella and 85% immunity to mumps. The second dose takes the immunity up to about 95%, 99% and 90% respectively. As far as we know, from very long term studies, there is very little loss of measles and rubella immunity over many years but there is some loss of mumps immunity over time. If you have children who have not been vaccinated or had only one dose of MMR, please contact your GP - even if they are huge teenagers who say they hate needles!

silverfrog Tue 09-Apr-13 14:22:05

could you quantify the 'very little loss of immunity to measles and rubella' and 'some loss of immunity to mumps' over time, please?

are we looking at a 10% drop in immune rates? or a 25% drop? what is very little? what is 'some'?

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 09-Apr-13 14:23:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:29



Why have we adopted the schedule that we have? I'm living right in the middle of the outbreak so my dd2 (coming up to 8mo) had her MMR last week, she'll need a booster at 12 months then another at 3 - I understand that for under 1s the vaccine isn't all that effective which is why we wait until 1, yet I'm currently in France so researched their schedule and found that both doses are given there before the age of 2 - so why do we wait until 3 for the second booster? Wouldn't it make more sense to give it earlier, as being advised in Swansea at the moment?

Thank you.

I'll try to keep this uncomplicated!
We normally give the first MMR at 12 to 13 months because by that age antibodies, that came from the mother during pregnancy and which can block the vaccine, have worn off. It's also before children run significant risks of being exposed to measles.
The game changes though when there are lots of cases of measles. If children catch measles below the age of a year, then the risks really go up of a very severe brain damaging complication from the infection. For that reason, even though it isn't fully effective, we give a first dose at six months (roughly). We need to give in effect another first dose at the routine age of 12 to 13 months and then a routine second dose. There is no magic about the timing of the second dose. Most countries recommend it before school entry and we coincide the second MMR with other pre-school vaccines. There are a few countries that do give the second dose shortly after the first dose, but one isn't particularly better than the other.

saintlyjimjams Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:56

And further to silverfrog's questions - would you expect waning immunity to become more of a problem with the absence of circulating disease and as a higher proportion of the population has vaccination derived rather than disease derived immunity. i.e. as the vaccinated population grows up. How will this impact on the aim to make the UK measles free?

DrDavidSalisbury Tue 09-Apr-13 14:28:49


Just wondering whether it is also recommended for adults to get the vaccine? I was born in 1971 and my Mum is sure I did not have any vaccinations against measles as I had eczema and apparently the recommendation in those days was not to have vaccinations. Is it possible to get immunised as an adult, and is this recommended (plus are the likely post-inoculation side effects the same)? Thanks!

Yes - you can be immunised as an adult. But you should have been tested, certainly for rubella, when you were pregnant.

saintlyjimjams Tue 09-Apr-13 14:29:42

^^ Although that's applicable to mumps and rubella as well. Especially mumps I guess as it's usually mild in childhood, often asymptomatic.

DuckWaddle Tue 09-Apr-13 14:30:27

Thank you for clarifying the situation for those under 1. Can I take it that the number of cases in currently non outbreak areas will be monitored and, if the number of cases rise that those under 1 will be called for vaccination?

Puddlelane Tue 09-Apr-13 14:31:02

Yes I would like to know any link between SIDS and vaccines.

Vaccines Tue 09-Apr-13 14:33:17

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MyDarlingClementine Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:18

Dear Dr David,

I am not in an outbreak area where I live, But will shortly be going on holiday where at the airport and/plane and destination I will be exposed to the wider population, my daughter is 6 months in two weeks, should I be asking for a first dose? And when will doctors be informed of all of this in their surgeries. Many thanks

DisAstrophe Tue 09-Apr-13 14:35:09

Both my kids have had their first MMR but not the second. I won't bore you with the reason why.

The oldest had their his first dose 5yrs ago and the youngest had hers 2 years ago.

You've just said that the immunity only goes up from 90 to 95% for measles if they have the booster. Is that right - just another 5%. and still leaving them with a one in 20 chance of getting measles?

Thanks for coming on by the way and thanks to mn hq for arranging.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now