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New community film spotlights the need for measles vaccination in our area

By 29th January 2024No Comments

A new film about the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine launches in Bristol today, a collaboration between the Bristol Somali community and community health partners. The timely video launches as local health leaders are urging people to check if they have had their MMR vaccine following a national rise in measles cases.

The short film, titled ‘Let’s talk about MMR’ is aimed at people aged 17 to 30 of Somali heritage. It features young people from the Somali community, including Dr Asha Mohamed from University Hospitals Bristol & Weston (UHBW), discussing the symptoms and possible side effects of catching measles, mumps and rubella. It also explains how two doses of the MMR vaccine provides very high protection against these serious illnesses.

Not enough people of all ages across Bristol have had the MMR vaccine, which is usually given to young children when they are aged 12 months and 3 years and 4 months – 95% of the population needs to have both doses of the vaccine to provide safe levels of protection. This means that these serious diseases, which had almost disappeared, are becoming more common. Some communities, including the Somali community, have particularly low uptake of the MMR vaccine which means they are at higher risk of illness.

Let’s Talk About MMR was commissioned by Bristol City Council alongside the local NHS Vaccination Programme. The film was produced by community interest group Caafi Health and the Bristol Somali community, working with a local film maker from Inner City Bristol.

The launch comes as cases of measles continue to rise across the country. In the South West, on average one in ten children aged five years of age are not up to date with their Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations.

Julie Northcott, Deputy Director of Public Health at Bristol City Council, said: “We remain committed to working across the whole of Bristol to reduce public health inequalities. Communities within Bristol are not equally vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella. We hope this timely film supports the Somali community in Bristol to feel more confident about the MMR vaccine.”

Asha Mohamed, Director of Caafi Health CIC, said: “Working with talented young people from the Somali community, and being invited to help produce this film, has led to a great partnership here. This film not only looks great but it offers good quality content in a way which is authentic and relevant to young people.”

Anne Morris, Chief Nurse and Operational SRO, BNSSG Integrated Vaccination Programme, said: “This is a thoughtful and compelling short film which members of the Somali community have come together to produce. I hope it will spark lots of positive conversation about the MMR vaccine among young people, because this subject is perhaps more important now than ever.”

Not only is measles a very dangerous illness that can have long-term side-effects and even result in death, it is also extremely contagious; if a pregnant woman catches rubella it may cause in serious complications for her baby; and mumps can cause swelling of the brain and infertility in men. Local health leaders are urging everyone to check their red book health record, ask their parents, or call their GP to find out if they, or their child, have had both doses of the MMR vaccine.

It is never too late to have a free catch-up MMR vaccine – just call your GP to book a vaccination. If you cannot find out your MMR vaccination status, it is safe to have another vaccine.

For more information on measles symptoms, health risks and what to do if you suspect you or a loved one may have measles, go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/ or www.grabajab.net.