MMR jab figures show low immunisation rates for infants in Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 17:14 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 19 September 2018

The proportion of five-year-olds having both MMR jabs in Cambridgeshire is below target, according to latest Public Health England figures. PHOTO: Archant Library

The proportion of five-year-olds having both MMR jabs in Cambridgeshire is below target, according to latest Public Health England figures. PHOTO: Archant Library

Archant

The proportion of five-year-olds having both MMR jabs in Cambridgeshire is significantly below target, according to new figures.

The latest Public Health England figures for 2017-18 show that 88.7pc of five-year-olds had received both MMR jabs before their fifth birthday, up from 85pc the previous year.

But this means that 384 five-year-olds in the area are unprotected against highly-contagious measles.

The target, set by the World Health Organisation, is 95pc coverage.

Experts have said that the uptake of the jab across England, where 87.2pc of five-year-olds have had both jabs, is “worryingly low”.

The MMR jab is a three-in-one vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. It is given to young children in two doses - the first at 12 months and the second around three years.

Of the 8,299 five-year-olds living in Cambridgeshire, 7,915 had the first MMR jab, and 7,364 had both jabs.

That means that in addition to those with no protection, 551 children missed out on the second dose of MMR and will only be partially protected.

One in 10 children will not be protected against measles after the first dose alone. After the second, that falls to one in a hundred.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the British Society for Immunology (BSI) are concerned about children getting the first jab, but not the second.

BSI chief executive Dr Doug Brown said: “One in 10 people unprotected simply just isn’t good enough.”

This year there have already been 876 confirmed cases of measles in England, more than three times the number recorded in the whole of 2017.

Although measles is now more common in teenagers and young adults, Dr Brown said that it’s more important than ever to make sure young children are fully protected.

He said that reduced uptake rates were “disappointing”.

“If we are in a position of increased outbreaks, low immunisation is even more worrying,” he said.

Dr Brown added: “Vaccination is one of the few miracles of modern medicine. It is one of the safest and most cost-effective methods we have to prevent the spread of disease.”

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