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MMR vaccination uptake increases following catch-up campaign

MMR vaccination uptake increases following catch-up campaign
By Emma Wilkinson
9 April 2024

The MMR catch up campaign has led to a boost in jab uptake for the first three months of the year, according to NHS England.

Between 1 January and 24 March 2024, there were a total of 360,964 MMR vaccinations delivered, up almost a quarter (23%) from 293,847 in 2023, it said. This included 187,737 first doses and 171,635 second doses.

The campaign saw more than a million unvaccinated or partly-vaccinated 6-11-year-olds targeted, with parents urged to book an appointment at their child’s GP practice.

It follows data suggesting that uptake of childhood vaccinations in England remains too low and could lead to a re-emergence of other vaccine-preventable diseases.

A national marketing campaign to encourage parents to immunise their children also launched in March and there are ongoing MMR catch-up campaigns for children and adults.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, said: ‘We are continuing to see measles cases in all regions of England, with cases particularly high in the West Midlands and London, so it is vital that people are fully protected by two doses of the MMR vaccine.

‘It only takes one case to get into a community with low vaccination rates for measles to spread rapidly, especially in schools and nurseries.

‘We know that hundreds of thousands of children around the country, particularly in some inner-city areas are still not fully vaccinated and are at risk of serious illness or life-long complications but measles is completely preventable with vaccination.’

Health minister Maria Caufield said: ‘These are hugely welcome figures that demonstrate the power of parents and clinicians coming together to protect our children.’

In February, NHS England said it would launch 12 ‘demonstrator sites’ to test new models for delivering vaccinations, including health visitors taking on catch-up jabs for children.

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse.

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