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Concern over low uptake of MMR jab

26 September 2008

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Despite a rise in the number of measles cases in Britain, some parents are still failing get their children vaccinated with the MMR jab, according to recent figures.

The latest data from the NHS information centre shows uptake of the controversial MMR jab has failed to rise despite warnings from health experts. The percentage of children receiving the jab remained at 85% over 2007/08, the same as the previous year.

The number receiving the jab is lower than the 95% needed for immunity in the community and is far lower than a decade ago, when 92% of children received the MMR jab.

In London, figures have been historically low, with less than 80% of children getting the vaccination.

Confidence in the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine fell after researchers published a 1998 paper in The Lancet medical journal suggesting a link between MMR and autism.

Uptake dropped to about 80% after some parents refused to let their children have the vaccine.

One of the experts, Dr Andrew Wakefield, is currently appearing before the General Medical Council on charges relating to his research.

Current recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) are that at least 95% of children get two doses of MMR by the age of two.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued a warning last year after the number of reported measles cases shot up over the summer.

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