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MMR target still falls short

1st October 2007

Figures from the NHS show that the uptake of the MMR vaccine has still not reached levels needed to ensure immunity in the community.

Vaccination1

Despite growing confidence in the vaccine, the number of children receiving the vaccine fell after research suggested a link between MMR and autism even though that evidence has since been discredited.

Statistics in England for 2006-7 show the uptake has risen slightly to 85% but is still short of the 95% needed.

After the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was linked to the behavioural disorder in a paper in The Lancet medical journal in 1998, vaccine uptake fell to 80%.

Studies since have found that MMR is safe and The Lancet publicly announced it should never have printed the study by Dr Andrew Wakefield as it had a serious conflict of interest and was flawed.

Confidence in MMR has been returning, albeit slowly and the NHS Information Centre say uptake in two-year olds went up by 1% in 2006-7.

Tim Straughan, acting chief executive of The Information Centre said: “Whilst it is encouraging to see that uptake of the MMR vaccine has risen slightly for the third successive year, more needs to be done to ensure we meet the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.?

The Health Protection Agency said uptake in Scotland and Northern Ireland was doing better with latest figures showing 92% coverage. Two English regions - North East and East Midlands - have achieved 90% coverage for MMR at 24 months.

 

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