MMR vaccine: coverage for young children by age two at highest level in 14 years

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Nine out of 10 children in England in 2011-12 had been immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) by their second birthday – the highest recorded coverage since 1997-98.

Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures show 91.2 per cent of children at this age had received their first dose of the MMR vaccine – a rise from 89.1 per cent in 2010-11. This is the first time coverage has passed 90 per cent since 1997-98 (when it was 90.8 per cent) and is 0.6 percentage points away from coverage peak recorded in 1995-96 (91.8 per cent).

Today’s report; NHS Immunisation Statistics, England, 2011-12 shows that after a low of 79.9 per cent in 2003-04, MMR vaccination coverage has generally increased each year. However, it remains below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of at least 95 per cent of children immunised).

Regionally in England, MMR coverage in 2011-12 increased in all 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) compared to the previous year. The highest recorded coverage was in the South Central SHA at 93.5 per cent (compared to 91.3 per cent in this SHA in the previous year), while the lowest percentage was recorded in London SHA at 86.1 per cent (compared to 83.8 per cent in this SHA in the previous year).

The report presents immunisation statistics for England at national, regional and local level. It also shows national coverage for all routine childhood vaccinations measured at one, two and five years increased in 2011-12, but that in most cases coverage is still below that of other UK countries.

In England in 2011-12:

94.7 per cent of children reaching their first birthday had completed primary immunisation courses against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP/IPV/Hib); a rise from 94.2 per cent in 2010-11.
Coverage for the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) booster for children aged 24 months passed 90 per cent for the first time since this data was first published in 2008/09; reaching 91.5 per cent compared to 89.3 per cent in the previous year.
Coverage data for the Hib/MenC booster vaccine at five years are available for the first time this year (as experimental statistics). In 2011-12, PCTs reported that 88.9 per cent of children had received this booster by the age of five.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Our annual figures have tracked the course of immunisation coverage for several vaccines for children over the years including that for Measles Mumps and Rubella.

“Today’s report marks a significant point in the continued rise of MMR coverage since it hit a low in 2003-04 – as for the first time in 14 years nine out of 10 children in England have had the MMR vaccine before they turn two.

“However although MMR coverage at two years has risen in all regions of England, and overall the country’s coverage has increased in recent years, the national figure remains below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of at least 95 per cent.”

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