Uptake of MMR vaccine increases to 90 percent
Ninety-two percent of children across the UK have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for the first time, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
It is the highest number of recipients of the MMR vaccine that the UK has seen in 13 years and it is thought to have been brought on by the spread of a measles epidemic across Europe.
However, the HPA is warning that the 92 percent of children that are being vaccinated against MMR is not enough to prevent incidences of the illnesses.
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The HPA believe that the number of children receiving MMR jabs needs to reach 95 percent before the spread of disease stops.
Parents are being urged to vaccinate their children before they travel abroad with them this summer, especially is they are visiting Europe.
The HPA has confirmed that the UK has seen 496 cases of measles between the months of January and May.
This figure has increased from 374 confirmed incidences of measles for the whole of 2010 and the majority of measles cases occur in children under 19 who have not been vaccinated.
MMR vaccines are given in two stages in the UK; the first jab comes when a child is 12 months old and the second shot is given when they start school.
“We are very encouraged to see that UK MMR uptake has reached 90 per cent in children aged two, indicating increasing levels of trust by parents in the immunisation programme,” says Dr Mary Ramsay, the head of the immunisation department from the HPA.
The encouragement for parents to give their child the MMR vaccine is thought to come from the epidemic that is currently sweeping across Europe.
More than 11,000 individual cases of measles have been reported across 35 European countries in the first third of 2011.
The outbreak is thought to have originated in France, where the first four months of the year saw 7,000 children develop measles.