NHS England is contacting parents and carers of 750,000 children who have missed their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination to encourage them to book an appointment with their GP.
Texts, emails and letters are being sent out from this week after figures showed around one in ten children aged between one and six years are not up to date with one or two doses of the MMR.
Invitations have also been sent out to 1.5 million parents of two and three year olds for flu vaccination. Where possible, children can receive their MMR catch up vaccine at the same time as their flu vaccine, NHS England said.
The World Health Organization raised the alarm earlier this year about possible measles outbreaks as a result of disruption to immunisation schedules caused by the pandemic.
It followed figures that showed MMR uptake in the UK had fallen to the lowest levels for a decade with 85.5% having had both doses by the age of five years.
Steve Russell, NHS director of vaccinations and screening, said: ‘Measles, mumps and rubella easily spread between unvaccinated people and can be very serious, so it is important that parents make sure their children are protected against MMR as they return to school, and are up to date with their flu vaccination if eligible as we head into the winter months.
‘The MMR vaccine is one of the most studied vaccines in the world, with millions of doses given every year – it is safe for your child, and will protect them, their friends and the wider community from these unpleasant but preventable diseases.’
He urged those whose child had not been vaccinated yet, or was not up to date with their vaccinations to contact their GP to book an appointment.