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MMR Vaccine Uptake Reaches Record Levels in Younger Children

Public Health Wales said uptake of the first dose of the vaccine reached 97% – the highest level recorded in Wales.

Uptake of the MMR vaccine in Wales has reached record levels in younger children, according to new figures.

Public Health Wales said between October and December 2013, uptake of the first dose of the vaccine in children reaching their second birthday was 97% – the highest level ever seen in Wales.

Meanwhile, uptake of the second dose in five-year-olds was 93% – just short of the 95% target needed to prevent disease outbreaks.

Dr Richard Roberts, head of the vaccine preventable disease programme, said: “The news that MMR uptake in two-year-old children continues to be at high levels is excellent, this is the fourth consecutive quarter that uptake in this groups has exceeded 95% and it shows that parents understand the potential severity of diseases like measles, mumps and rubella and the need to protect their children.

“However, the uptake of the second dose is still falling short of the 95% target and this does leave the potential for outbreaks in the future. We would remind all parents of children of any age who are not yet fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella that they should speak to their GP surgery as soon as possible to arrange catch up doses.”

The figures follow one of the largest outbreaks of measles in the UK, where more than 1,200 cases were reported around the Swansea area, with 88 people needing hospital treatment and one death.

Public Health Wales has since warned that more than 30,000 in that group have no record of receiving a complete two dose course of MMR vaccinations.

Dr Roberts said: “Excellent vaccine uptake in our younger children means we may not see outbreaks of this scale in 10 years’ time, but while older children are unprotected, there is every potential for further outbreaks in their age group.

“I cannot stress enough that measles, mumps and rubella are all potentially serious infections that can leave children with permanent health problems and can even cause death.

“The MMR vaccine is safe and effective and missed doses can be given at any time.”


Source: Wales Online

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