Cheshire and Merseyside pharmacies among first in country to pilot MMR vaccine offer

Pharmacist John Davey of Davey’s Chemist, Huyton
Pharmacist John Davey of Davey’s Chemist, Huyton

Children aged 5-11 who have missed doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine will be able to get vaccinated at selected Cheshire and Merseyside pharmacies for the first time thanks to a new initiative being trialled in the North West.

Fourteen pharmacies across Cheshire and Merseyside are among the first in the country to take part in the pilot to support a national call and recall of under-vaccinated children and help increase MMR vaccines.

Uptake of both doses of vaccine, which is usually given to children aged one and then a second vaccine at around three years and four months, is 85.2% in the North West – and lower than 80% in some areas – which like many parts of the country is significantly lower than the World Health Organisation target of 95% coverage with two doses of MMR vaccine by 5 years.

Tricia Spedding, Regional Deputy Head of Public Health for NHS England – North West, said:


"Measles is a highly infectious illness – complications can be life changing with dangers including blindness, deafness and swelling of the brain.

"Children who have not yet had both doses of the MMR vaccination are at risk of catching this very serious but completely preventable disease.

"By offering the MMR vaccine in pharmacies to children who missed one or both doses, we are hoping to make it easier and more convenient for parents to get their children protected."

A list of participating pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside can be found here.

Parents of 5- to 11-year-olds who are overdue one or both doses of MMR will be able to just walk in, with no appointment needed, although there may be a short wait if the pharmacist is busy. GP practices will also be able to refer patients for MMR vaccination in a participating pharmacy.

John Davey, a pharmacist at Davey’s Chemist in Huyton, Merseyside, which is involved in the pilot initiative, said:


"This is a valuable opportunity for parents to bring their children to conveniently and locally get the MMR vaccine to protect them against measles.

"The pilot is also a great opportunity for community pharmacies in Primary Care to support local GP practices in offering additional healthcare resources to the local community."

The pharmacy scheme is one of a number of initiatives that have been introduced in the North West over the past two months to increase MMR vaccine uptake in response to rising measles cases. Other schemes include:

  • the introduction of vaccine catch-up clinics in general practice, including evening and weekend sessions.
  • roving and outreach vaccine clinics in the community, including the Living Well Bus in Cheshire and Merseyside.
  • extra vaccination sessions being put on by school aged immunisation providers in schools in some areas where uptake is lower.

In addition, GPs are continuing to call those aged 12 months to 5 for vaccination and parents of children who are due or have missed their MMR vaccines are being urged to come forward as soon as possible.