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Percentage of children under two getting MMR jab plunges

Published 22/09/2016

A nurse prepares a vaccination
A nurse prepares a vaccination

The percentage of children given the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab by their second birthday continues to fall, new figures show.

Some 91.9% of children in 2015/16 had received their first dose of the MMR vaccine by their second birthday, down on the 92.3% in 2014/15 and 92.7% the year before.

However, by the age of five, 94.8% of children had their first dose - a record high. GPs invite children for the first dose of the jab when they are 12 to 13 months of age.

The n ew data, from NHS Digital, also shows that 93.6% of children reaching their first birthday had their first dose of the combined jab that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTaP/IPV/Hib).

This is down slightly on the 94.2% in 2014/15 and 94.3% in 2013/14.

Overall, coverage for most routine childhood vaccinations at one and two years of age fell in 2015/16 for the third consecutive year.

Only around one in three children, aged two to four, were also vaccinated against seasonal flu - despite a huge push for them to receive the immunisation.

Just 30% of four-year-olds were vaccinated in 2015/16, while the figure was 35.4% for two-year-olds and 37.7% for three-year-olds.

Izzi Seccombe, chairwoman of the Local Government Association's community wellbeing board, said: "While routine childhood vaccination coverage at one and two years remains high, it is a concern that the rate has fallen slightly for a third consecutive year.

"These figures are a reminder of how important it is for parents to ensure their child is up-to-date with their vaccinations, including the MMR vaccine, which has also seen a drop in uptake.

"Measles may not be hitting the headlines every day, but councils, which have responsibility for public health, would encourage people to contact their GP to check their family's medical records and make sure they and their loved ones are protected. It is important they don't miss out."

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From Belfast Telegraph