§ Mr. Moonman
asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement on the shortage of measles vaccine in Essex, with particular reference to the constituency of Billericay, details of which has been sent to him.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
My plans provide for vaccination against measles to be offered to all children aged one to fifteen who are susceptible to the disease because they have not been immunised nor had natural measles. Implementation of these plans will necessarily take time. In announcing them I informed local authorities that at the outset the amount of vaccine available would not be sufficient to meet all possible demands, and asked them to concentrate during May, June and July on susceptible children in certain priority groups, mainly those aged 4 to 6 inclusive.
The entire available and growing supply of vaccine is being bought by my Department and distributed to local authorities. In my view the amount to be distributed during May, June and July should be sufficient for the estimated numbers of susceptible children in the priority groups likely to come forward for vaccination. But demands made by local authorities have exceeded the amounts of vaccine so far available, and supplies have had to be distributed fairly. Essex County Council, whose area includes Billericay, have accordingly received about one third of the order they placed for May, as have most other authorities.