Hundreds flock for emergency jab

More than 1,800 people were vaccinated against measles in Wales on Saturday

More than 1,800 people were vaccinated against measles in Wales on Saturday

First published in National News © by

Emergency vaccination clinics have been hailed for inoculating record numbers in a region battling a measles epidemic.

Test results to establish whether a measles sufferer's death was due to the highly contagious disease are still awaited.

Father-of-one Gareth Williams, 25, was found dead in his flat in Swansea, South Wales, on Thursday morning. Health officials confirmed on Friday that he did have measles at the time of his death. They also warned the public to expect the measles epidemic to claim lives as the headline total of cases hit 808.

It is now almost six months since the first measles cases emerged in the greater Swansea area where the epidemic is centred. The disease was slow to spread before Christmas but the number of cases rose with alarming rapidity from the start of March.

Thousands of anxious parents have taken their children to weekend vaccination sessions held at a handful of the region's hospitals. Around 1,700 children and young adults were vaccinated on each of two consecutive Saturdays over the Easter holidays.

Special in-school sessions to give the MMR jab to children who have still so far missed out took place around Swansea last week. But the latest drop-in vaccination clinics in the region's hospitals still dealt with record numbers on Saturday. Possibly driven by fear that the disease had claimed its first victim more than 1,800 people were vaccinated.

Due to the success of the weekend vaccination sessions health chiefs announced they will be held for a further weekend as well.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board, which takes in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot and Bridgend, ran clinics at four sites.

"Over 1,800 people were vaccinated at ABMU Health Board's four drop-in MMR clinics today - the highest number yet," a spokesman said. "Many of the 1,825 given MMR jabs were older schoolchildren, teenagers and young adults, as well as babies and toddlers having their vaccinations earlier than normal during the measles outbreak."

The figures show the turn out on Saturday was highest at Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, where 727 MMR jabs were given. Neath Port Talbot Hospital saw 455 jabs given and at Swansea's two sites 341 were given at Morriston Hospital and 302 at Singleton Hospital.

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