THE WELSH health minister said today that uptake of the MMR vaccine in Gwent was too low.

In a statement, Minister Mark Drakeford, said there is “particular concern” for the Gwent area, where MMR uptake in the “hardest hit” age group, 10 to 18 years, is still “too low to prevent future outbreaks”.

He added that there have been over 100 reported cases of measles in Gwent since November. He said this was against a slowing down of cases in the Swansea area, which saw the first outbreaks and that there may be “grounds for cautious optimism” in respect of the number of cases from this area over the coming weeks.

He added that the response across Wales had been very encouraging with more than 52,000 non-routine MMR vaccinations being given across Wales since March 2013. He said he believed the push for vaccination across the Principality should reduce the length and severity of the outbreak. This was supported, he said, by recent modelling work carried out by Public Health Wales. He added the number of unvaccinated people, particularly in the hardest hit 10 – 18 age group were a cause for concern.

The minister appealed to young people and parents of children who are still not fully vaccinated to contact health professionals to get their child vaccinated.