#FaithinPartnership Week

11th – 15th September 2023

See what happened during our week celebrating and championing cross-sector working!

London Overtakes the West Midlands in Measles Infections

London has recently surpassed the West Midlands in reporting the highest number of measles cases, raising concerns that the capital could become a focal point for the disease. Over the past six months, there has been a significant uptick in infections, with 62 out of 195 cases reported in London since March 11th. This sharp increase contrasts with only 11 cases in March the previous year.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a warning, stating that England is seeing the highest number of measles infections in a decade, a trend exacerbated by declining vaccination rates among children. To prevent a major outbreak, a minimum of 95 percent of the population must be vaccinated with the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.

Millions of children under the age of 16 remain unprotected.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that typically presents with cold-like symptoms such as a high temperature, followed by a characteristic rash a few days later.

Complications from measles can include pneumonia, meningitis, blindness, and encephalitis, posing serious risks to children and pregnant women.

Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “We are now seeing the highest case numbers in this country for a decade, with over 1,000 cases being reported since October”. Last year, UKHSA had warned of the potential for a major Measles outbreak in London if MMR vaccine uptake did not improve. Efforts to enhance access and promote vaccination have been underway, with the NHS and local authorities collaborating to encourage vaccination uptake.

As the summer holiday season approaches, families planning overseas travel are urged to ensure their children’s vaccinations are up to date. Of particular concern is the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, scheduled for June. Unvaccinated travellers could inadvertently import the disease back in the UK, especially with vaccination rates as low as 54 percent in certain parts of London.

Creative English for Health

The recent Health-based Creative English programme which FaithAction ran with 10 hubs in Greater Manchester addressed concerns people have with vaccinations, with a 37% increase in participants acknowledging the importance of vaccination, 25% increase in participants deciding to take their children to get vaccinated (73% of the total group), and a 54% increase in participants deciding to get vaccinated themselves.


Greg Fell, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, highlighted the susceptibility of densely populated areas like London to outbreaks, emphasising the need for vigilance. Dr. Vanessa Saliba, a UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, underscored the importance of vaccination in preventing measles transmission, especially in communities with low vaccination rates.

The message is clear: measles is a preventable disease, and vaccination is the key to protection. With concerted efforts to improve vaccination uptake and raise awareness, we can work towards safeguarding communities and preventing further spread of this dangerous virus.