The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is responsible for protecting everyone in the community from the impact of infectious diseases, and vaccines play an important part in this.

UKHSA would like to invite you to take part in the UKHSA survey of Health Visitors to share your experiences and thoughts on vaccination, and your views on possible new immunisations. They welcome all opinions.

We know that parents really value and trust health visitors’ advice and this anonymous survey will help UKHSA better support you in your work.

This is not a test of knowledge and there are no right or wrong answers. It will only take about 15 minutes of your time.

The survey is being conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Health Visiting and University College London Institute of Child Health.

How to take part in the survey

If you are an iHV member, you should have received an email in the last day or so with a link to the UKHSA survey – please email us at [email protected] if you did not receive this.

If you are not an iHV member (and you are a health visitor), you can still complete the UKHSA survey – please email us at [email protected].

Yesterday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued an urgent letter regarding preparing for measles resurgence in England. Tackling this issue will require a whole system approach and health visitors have an important role to play.

The UKHSA recent measles risk assessment concluded that although the risk of a UK-wide measles epidemic is considered low, a measles outbreak of between 40,000 and 160,000 cases could occur in London, due to sub-optimal uptake of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine in the capital. Evidence also shows that, outside of London, there is a high risk of cases linked to overseas travel leading to outbreaks in specific population groups. There has been a steady rise in measles cases this year.

Health visitors can play a crucial role in increasing uptake of the MMR immunisation programme to meet the WHO target of 95% coverage with two doses of MMR vaccine by age 5 years. Achieving this target is essential to maintain measles elimination status for the UK and prevent measles outbreaks from occurring. This is a NHS Long-Term Plan (LTP) commitment and high priority within NHS England.

Key messages:

Raising awareness of the complications of measles and enabling access to immunisations will be important parts of the solution.

  • Measles is highly infectious and can lead to serious complications, particularly in immunosuppressed individuals and young infants.
  • It is also more severe in pregnancy, and increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm birth.

Individuals with suspected or known measles:

  • should be isolated immediately on arrival when attending health care settings to reduce the risk of other patients being exposed
  • all suspected measles cases should be promptly notified by phone to the local Health Protection Team (HPT) to facilitate timely public health action.

MMR vaccine:

  • all healthcare workers should have satisfactory evidence of protection against measles to protect both themselves and their patients. Satisfactory evidence of protection includes documentation of having received two or more doses of a measles containing vaccine and/or a positive measles IgG antibody test. Occupational Health service should have ready access to up-to-date records to support outbreak response.
  • children should receive their two doses of MMR vaccine on time at 12 months, and 3 years and 4 months.
  • the MMR vaccine can be given from six months of age before travel to a high-risk country.
  • patients over the age of three years and four months who do not have two recorded doses of MMR vaccine should be caught up opportunistically. There is no upper age limit to offering MMR vaccine.
  • new entrants from abroad and newly registered patients should have their immunisation history checked and missing doses caught up.
  • unvaccinated postnatal women should be offered any outstanding doses.

Under-vaccinated communities:

Health professionals who work with under-vaccinated communities should collaborate with local partners to raise awareness about measles with those most at risk and ensure unregistered populations can access immunisation services.
Resources including national guidelines for health professionals and free to order posters and leaflets for patients are listed in the appendix section in the full letter here.


Please also see: