Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

MMR vaccine rate at all-time high in Northern Ireland

The uptake rate for the MMR vaccine in Northern Ireland has reached an all-time high.

The uptake rate for the MMR vaccine in Northern Ireland has reached an all-time high.

More than 95% of toddlers aged two have taken the protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions which can be life threatening, and the MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to ensure protection.

"These most recent figures are very encouraging and parents are to be congratulated for taking this very positive step to ensure their children are protected."

Research in 1998 suggested that autism could be caused by the vaccine, and afterwards vaccination rates dropped sharply. But after further studies, the scientific consensus is that no evidence links the vaccine to the disorder.

It is recommended that all children should have two doses of MMR by age four.

Northern Ireland chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: "These new figures are excellent but there is still some room for improvement. We only have to look at recent outbreaks in Northern Ireland and across the UK to see the very real danger of children not receiving MMR vaccine. I would therefore urge all parents to ensure their children are protected."

Dr Carolyn Harper, director of public health at the Public Health Agency, said: "Virtually all parents here are now choosing to have their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella before two years of age.

"By doing so they have done the best thing for their children and protected them against these serious infections."

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