Image of child facing camera and text: Is your child protected? It's not too late

The NHS wants to keep children safe and protected from serious illness.

This is why the NHS in London is encouraging all parents of children aged 1 to 16 who are not yet up-to-date with their routine vaccinations for polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) to come forward. If your child is missing a vaccination, you may be contacted by a health care professional and invited for a convenient appointment to catchup on your child’s vaccinations. This could be at a school, community clinic or your GP surgery.

Why are we doing this?

Measles cases are rising in England. In 2023 there were 368 confirmed measles cases, compared with just 54 cases in 2022. Around a third of cases in England (122) were seen in London. The majority of cases were in children under the age of 11.

Measles can make children seriously unwell with one in five needing a hospital visit. One in 15 children develop serious complications from a measles infection, which can include meningitis and blindness. It is also highly infectious – just one person with measles can infect nine out of ten people who have not had the MMR vaccination.

There is no medical treatment for measles; vaccination is the best protection against becoming seriously unwell. The MMR vaccine protects against measlesmumps and rubella (German measles).

Polio can lead to paralysis and in some cases, even death. There is no cure for polio, vaccination is the only protection.

London has lower rates of childhood vaccination than other regions in England and this was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, when many children missed their vaccinations.

The best way to protect your child is to make sure they are fully up to date with their vaccinations. These vaccines will increase your child’s protection and have been safely given to millions of children.

Which polio and MMR vaccines does my child need?

The vaccine you are offered will be the right one for the age of your child. See below for details of the vaccinations your child should have already had.

Age groupPolio or MMR vaccinations your child needs
0-1 yearMMR (1st dose)
3 doses of 6-in-1 vaccine (containing polio vaccine)
At 3 years 4 months4-in-1 pre-school booster (4th dose of polio vaccine)
MMR (2nd dose)

View the full childhood vaccination schedule

How to get a polio or MMR vaccination for your child

Parents/guardians of children aged 1-16 years old who are missing any doses can schedule catch-up appointments with their GP practice. Anyone not registered with a GP can find a GP here. Those with school-aged children (aged 4-16) can also contact their local school-aged immunisation service.

If your child has only had one dose then they will only need one further dose, no matter how long ago the first dose was given. If your child needs two doses, these can be given with a one month gap between them.