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Measles cases still high as MMR scheme kicks in

11 July 2013

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Confirmed cases of measles are at the highest recorded levels for almost a ten years, with 1,168 confirmed cases between January and May 2013. 

Cases in May declined, with 188 cases compared to 299 in April, suggesting that the MMR catch-up programme is beginning to make an impact. 

Figures released by Public Health England (PHE) show that around 56,000 10-16 year olds in England have received their first dost of vaccine in the catch up programme. A similar amount of partially vaccinated children have also received an extra dose of MMR. 

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England said: “Thanks to the hard work of local health teams we are making good progress towards the 95% target, but there still remains a large number of 10-16 year olds, together with many younger children and adults who are under-vaccinated. 

“The programme will continue until we reach as many children as possible in the age groups most affected.”

PHE estimates that around 120,000 extra 10-16 year olds need to have their first MMR doses to reach 95% uptake of the first dose. 

Most GP practices (95%) have ordered extra vaccine and more than 200,000 extra doses of MMR vaccine have been delivered. 

To ensure as many children are vaccinated as possible, the need for a school based programme is being actively considered for the next academic year.