Measles Alert

MMR vaccinations for eligible practice staff

We understand that many practices have been asking if they can vaccinate their own practice staff in this instance.

You may be aware that on 19 February 2024 Jane Freeguard, Deputy Director of Vaccination – Medicines & Pharmacy from the NHS England national team, confirmed that:

In light of the national measles outbreak and urgency to support rapid uptake of the MMR vaccine, we are permitting practices to administer MMR vaccines to their eligible staff who are registered with another practice under INT (immediately necessary treatment). Please note this is a time limited arrangement until 31 March 2024 in light of the on-going national incident and only applies to MMR vaccinations. 

An item of service fee cannot be claimed for the administration of MMR vaccines to staff registered with another practice. However, indemnity cover will be provided through CNSGP [clinical negligence scheme for general practice] and nationally supplied MMR stock can be used to vaccinate eligible staff. Staff must be strongly encouraged to inform their registered practice that they have received an MMR vaccine, requesting it be included in their medical record.

CNSGP have added a banner to their website, confirming these arrangements as follows:-

MMR Vaccinations for practice staff
Following a request from NHS England, NHS Resolution is pleased to confirm that cover under Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) will be available, for the period until 31 March 2024 only, to general practices and their staff in England for administering the MMR vaccination to their own eligible staff who are registered with another practice. This is to support rapid uptake of the vaccine during the present measles outbreak. Also, where the first such vaccination was administered on or before 31 March 2024, cover for the second vaccination will be provided if this is given on or before 31 May 2024.

As you will be aware, the current MMR PGD is not suitable for this activity and our colleagues from NHSE Immunisation teams have suggested that the numbers of staff requiring MMR will likely be low and consider using a PSD in the meantime.

We would recommend practices check the details in the Green Book – Chapter 21 Measles and in particular, Page 10 onwards is very useful in looking at making decisions of who and when to vaccinate.

Is your practice ‘measles ready’?

Are you familiar and up to date with the recent NHSE guidance and resources, including infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance, staff immunisation, risk assessment, PPE guidance and screening and reporting of potential /confirmed measles infection?

Connie Timmins, IPC lead for BSW ICB led a measles update webinar for primary care on Tuesday 6th February.

Webinar Slides – Wessex LMC Measles preparedness and management

Webinar Recording – Click HERE to view

Key Points

On 31 October 2023, NHS England National Medical Director and UKHSA Chief Medical Advisor wrote to healthcare system leaders to alert them to the risk of a measles resurgence in England, due to sub-optimal uptake of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and cases linked to overseas travel.

NHSE advise that 2023 has seen a steady rise in measles cases. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published updated national measles guidelines and resources, with a new slide set for healthcare professionals and support staff in primary care. These guidelines advise how to manage cases of suspected measles, what patient details to take, who to notify and assessing risk of disease spreading in close contacts.

Guidance for Risk Assessment and Infection Prevention and Control Measures for Measles in Healthcare Settings

January 2024 – NHSE issued Guidance for risk assessment and infection prevention and control measures for measles in healthcare settings.

The guidance is intended to support preparedness for and management of suspected or confirmed measles cases in healthcare settings and we would strongly recommend practices familiarise themselves with this. It is quite possible that practices will be the first contact point for potential measles cases and staff should be aware of symptoms. The guidance includes details for the required PPE and IPC to mange suspected cases. It also advises that all staff vaccinations, for MMR in particular, should be checked. CQC Mythbuster 37 is useful for this topic.

In particular it says:-

2.2.1. Patient placement in primary care or outpatient settings

If remote consultation is not possible or if, following telephone triage, a patient with suspected or confirmed measles is required or advised to attend primary care or outpatient settings, there should be separation in space and/or time between patients.  Patients attending with suspected measles infection should be prioritised for assessment/treatment and isolated at the time of arrival (for example, directed to a side room). Appointments should be scheduled to reduce waiting times in reception areas (where necessary) and avoid cross-over of infectious and non-infectious patients.

If transfer from a primary care facility to a hospital is required, ambulance services should be informed of the infectious status of the patient. Patient confidentiality must be maintained.

We strongly recommend reading the guidance in full

 

NHS Launches Catch Up Campaign for Missed MMR Vaccines

Millions of parents and carers in England are being urged to book their children in for their missed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of a major new NHS drive to protect children from becoming seriously unwell, as measles cases continue to rise across the country. The NHS campaign will see all parents of children aged from six to 11 years contacted encouraging them to make an appointment with their child’s GP practice for their missed MMR vaccine. Read more here

Practices are advised by NHSE that the national MMR call/recall to support the 2023/24 vaccination and immunisation campaign will be taking place throughout February and March 2024. The national MMR vaccination reminders will be sent to the parents/guardians of children aged 6-11 years who require one or two doses of the vaccine.

Practices should prepare to receive enquiries from their registered patients during February and March 2024 who have received a national MMR vaccination reminder, and should check immunisation records, book, and administer vaccination, if clinically appropriate. Further information on the practice role in support of national MMR call and recall is available in Annex A here

 

Further Information

UKHSA Measles Toolkit 2024 1.0

The Green Book of Immunisation’s chapter on measles

NICE’s measles diagnosis pages

NHS website’s measles page

GOV.UK factsheet on the symptoms, diagnosis, complications and treatment of measles

Healthier Together – What to look for (measles)

Measles information and IPC actions Short guide 02_24 (002) (with thanks to Connie Timmins, IPC lead and the team at BSW ICB)

 

Resources for Healthcare Professionals

 MMR for all: general leaflet

 Measles self identify for GP reception poster

 Measles in young people (poster) and (leaflet)

 Measles: don’t let your child catch it – flyer

 Think measles: reminder poster to call ahead for young people

 Information on measles for health professionals poster