Communication from the HSE – Importance of MMR vaccine and being measles aware

Dear Parent/Legal Guardian,
In recent months there has been a rise in cases of measles in parts of the UK and Europe. On 7th February the HSE reported the death of an adult with confirmed measles. This is the first confirmed measles case notified in Ireland in 2024.
We are asking parents to be measles aware and to make sure your children have received their recommended MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines.

Be measles aware

Measles can be unpleasant and is a potentially serious and highly infectious disease.
The symptoms of measles include:
 high fever
 cough
 runny nose
 rash, which usually appears on head and neck first and spreads to rest of body

Serious complications of measles include pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). One in five infected may need to go to hospital and it can be fatal.

More information about measles symptoms is available at: or by searching ‘HSE measles’.

If your child has been diagnosed with confirmed measles by your GP or hospital please contact your school. Children in your child’s class may need to be vaccinated if they are not fully vaccinated against measles.

MMR vaccine

MMR vaccination is the best way to against measles.
Uptake of both doses of the MMR vaccine has been below 90% for some time which is of great concern because of the serious and infectious nature of measles.

Two doses needed

You need two doses of the MMR vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. The first dose is given by GP practices when children are 12 months of age. The second dose is given by HSE school vaccination teams when children are in junior infants. (In Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal this vaccine is delivered by GP practices).

Missed vaccines

It is not too late to be vaccinated. The MMR vaccine is now available as a catch-up vaccine through GP practices for anyone who may have missed their first or second dose.

More information

More information about MMR vaccine is available from

Kind regards,
Dr Lucy Jessop
Consultant in Public Health Medicine –
National Immunisation Lead
National Immunisation Office
MRCN 424447

Dr Abigail Collins
Consultant in Public Health Medicine
National Clinical Lead Child Health
Public Health
MCRN 40462