MMR jab uptake levels 'lower than needed for herd immunity'

GPs and nurses should 'take every opportunity' to offer the MMR jab, after latest research highlighted that uptake levels are below those needed for herd immunity.

Parents should also be warned against favouring the less effective single jabs over the combined MMR jab.

The study of 14,758 UK children found that 88.6 per cent of children born between 2000-2002 had been immunised with the MMR jab by the age of three.

This is, however, below the level required for herd immunity, over 95 per cent, and has resulted in an increase in the number of cases of measles.

A total of 970 cases of measles were confirmed in 2007 compared with 740 in 2006.

The study also showed that nearly three quarters, 74.4 per cent, of the parents who chose not to have their child immunised with the MMR vaccine did so because of concerns over the links to autism and negative media attention.

Lead researcher Dr David Elliman, a consultant in community child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, said: ‘GPs should take every opportunity to give the MMR jab to children whenever they present at the surgery.'

BMJ Online

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