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In brief for 6 June 2011

Coastguard petition 

 SIC political leader Josie Simpson joins local coastguard campaigner Lee Coutts as part of a joint delegation with Western Isles Council to hand in a huge petition opposing plans to close the MCA stations in Lerwick and Stornoway.

While the campaigners in Shetland managed to raise almost 14,000 signatures, the were outdone by folk in the Outer Hebrides who gathered more than 15,000 names backing the call.

The delegation arrives at 10 Downing Street around 11.30am accompanied by northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael, shadow Scottish secretary Ann McKechin, SNP leader at Westminster Angus Robertson and western isles MP Angus Macneil.

The MCA has proposed leaving Scotland covered by one full time station at Aberdeen and one part time station in Shetland or Stornoway. The government has said this plan is likely to change due to the level of public outcry.

MMR campaign

NHS SHETLAND is encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella before the summer holidays, when many people will travel overseas where these diseases are more common.

Shetland has the lowest uptake of the MMR jab in Scotland, with 14 per cent of two year olds still unvaccinated.

Public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “Clearly parents have a choice, but we believe they should make their decision based on scientific evidence. We would urge all parents to get their child immunised with MMR when they are invited by their GP and to seriously consider the risks if they leave their child unprotected.

“The evidence is that MMR is the safest way to protect children against measles, mumps and rubella.  And it is never too late to get older children protected as well if they have not already had the vaccination.

“If parents have any concerns about MMR, they should discuss them with their child’s GP or health visitor.”