Measles warning for children as vaccine rate drops

Doctors are urging families to make sure their young ones are immunised after an outbreak of measles

Jab rates fall for MMR vaccine across Cambridgeshire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Parents are being urged to ensure their children are up to date with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine as new figures reveal a fall in the take-up across Cambridgeshire.

Ten per cent of children aged five living in the East of England are not up to date with their two doses of the MMR vaccine. 

Figures for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) rank at 78th out of 105 CCGs nationwide when it comes to the percentage of children who have received their first MMR jab by the age of two (90.4 per cent) between July to September 2021. 

It remains at 78th place (94.3 per cent) for children to have received a first vaccine by their fifth birthday, but then slumps to 62nd place (89 per cent) for a second jab by the age of five. 

However, that is a slight decrease from the figures for July to September 2020, which stood at 93.1 per cent for a jab by the age of two, 95.2 per cent for a first jab by five and 89.4 per cent for a second jab by their fifth birthday. 

It is still above the national average for England over the period July to September 2021, which is just 88.6 per cent for a first jab by two, 93.7 per cent for children to receive a first vaccine by their fifth birthday, and just 85.5 per cent for a second jab by five. 

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The MMR vaccine offers the best protection from measles, mumps and rubella which is why we’re calling on parents and carers to make sure their children are up to date with their two doses. 

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“Even a small drop in vaccine coverage can have a big impact on population immunity levels and lead to outbreaks. 

“I would urge parents to check if their children are up to date with their MMR vaccines and if not to get them booked in as soon as they are able. It’s never too late to catch-up." 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, there has been a significant drop in the numbers getting their children vaccinated against MMR and other childhood vaccines at the right time.