Experts and medical professionals have warned that MMR vaccination rates are at the lowest level they have been in a decade.
With the latest data revealing that more than one in 10 school entry-age children in England are now at risk of measles due to not having their MMR jab – which protects against measles, mumps and rubella – the UKHSA and NHS have launched a campaign urging parents and guardians to make sure children have had their MMR vaccinations and other routine jabs before starting school.
Children can receive their first dose of the MMR vaccine on the NHS at the age of one, and the second dose when they are three years and four months old.
According to the most recent figures, between July and September last year, just 88.6% of children in England had received their first MMR dose by the age of two, while just 85.5% had received both doses by the age of five – the lowest in a decade.
The World Health Organisation says that 95% of children need to be vaccinated to prevent the rise of measles.
Measles is highly infectious and can cause pneumonia, inflammation of the brain – known as encephalitis – damage to the immune system which leaves children more susceptible to other infections, and in some rare cases, can also cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which can lead to destruction of the central nervous system, loss of motor control, epilepsy, and even death.
Research commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care and the UKHSA found that 48% of parents and guardians of children aged five and under did not know that measles can lead to serious complications.
Only 38% of those surveyed knew measles could be fatal.
When a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination, it becomes harder for the measles to pass between people – but since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a concerning drop in the number of children receiving these vaccines on time.
Experts say this may be due to some parents having realised doctors were still offering appointments, or did not want to burden the NHS.
Dr Vanessa Saliba – Consultant Epidemiologist at the UKHSA – said: “The MMR vaccine offers the best protection from measles, mumps and rubella which is why we’re calling on parents and carers to make sure their children are up to date with their two doses.
“Even a small drop in vaccine coverage can have a big impact on population immunity levels and lead to outbreaks.”
“It is incredibly important that all parents and guardians ensure their child is up to date with their routine vaccinations, including MMR, as these vaccines give children crucial protection against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stop outbreaks in the community,” added Dr Nikki Kanani – GP and Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England, said:
“If your child has missed a vaccination, please contact your GP practice to book an appointment as soon as you can to make sure they have maximum protection against disease.”
Mancunian has been named one of the ‘most attractive’ accents in the UK
Manchester is, once again, celebrating what we already know – our accent is one of the “most attractive” in the UK.
In case you missed it, earlier this year, Manchester welcomed in 2023 with the news that our city’s accent had been named the “sexiest” the country has to offer – with a survey of 2,500 people by casino comparison site Best Casinos discovering that over half of respondents ranked it the most pleasing regional accent to the ear.
And now it turns out that that survey wasn’t a fluke, because a new study has called the Manchester accent one of the “most attractive” in the UK.
But while there’s no doubt we can hold our heads high and be proud of claiming a spot in the top 10, this title does become a bit less impressive when you realise which other regional varieties have placed higher than us.
Fellow Northern accents Scouse and Geordie have taken second and third place on the list respectably, and the Welsh capital’s Cardiff accent rounding out the top five.
For us northerners, the grim reading continues when you learn that the London accent has clinched the top spot.
The Most Attractive Accents in the UK
According to Preply, 21% of women survey respondents voted for the London accent as the most attractive in the UK, compared with just 15% of men, while 10.4% of the population picked the unique sound of the Liverpool accent as second best.
Only 8.7% of survey respondents considered the Mancunian accent to be the most attractive.
The results from this survey do, at least, go some way to shattering the findings from two surveys published last year that found the Manchester accent is considered to be one of the ‘least respected’ nationwide, especially in the corporate world of work, and that Northerners with strong accents are considered ‘less intelligent’.
Featured Image – Unknown
The first bright yellow Bee Network bus has hit the streets of Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester residents will soon start to see bright yellow double decker buses travelling the region’s streets in the coming weeks.
With exactly six months to go before Greater Manchester “brings buses back under local control”, Mayor Andy Burnham has joined a number of other local leaders in unveiling the brand-new ‘Bee Network’ co-branded buses.
In what marks the biggest change to transport in Greater Manchester for almost 40 years, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), bus operator Diamond – which currently runs services in Bolton – has teamed up with Go North West to run the first franchised services in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury from September this year.
Diamond has agreed to start transforming their buses into Bee Network ones from this week, with more set to appear on the roads every month.
The first bright yellow double decker bus has now hit the streets of Bolton, and is serving the number 8 route – which connects Bolton and Manchester city centre via Farnworth and Salford.
As already announced by TfGM and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), when franchising is officially introduced on 24 September 2023, 50 brand-new electric Bee Network buses will hit the streets on day one, alongside new ‘Euro VI’ vehicles, and dozens more co-branded buses from the existing fleet.
A further 50 electric buses will then be introduced onto the network in March 2024, which is when the second part of franchising starts.
All of the 270 new electric Bee Network buses will be fully accessible, with wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems, and anti-slip flooring.
Mayor Andy Burnham said the first Bee Network bus entering service is “very much the start of our journey”, and added that the scheme will “ultimately deliver a greener, integrated and more inclusive transport system that will transform how people travel around our city-region.”
Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt also called the first bus’s introduction onto the streets as “a further significant step” towards the integration of the Bee Network and the “transformation” of public transport and active travel in the region.
He continued: “From September we’ll also have dozens of new state-of-the-art buses serving passengers in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury.
“These will be the first of many across Greater Manchester that will, alongside the new lower fares – which are already increasing ridership – and improvements to travel information, improve bus travel for everyone who lives and works here.”