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MMR jab uptake among young people in England up by 23% since 2023, says NHS

The number of young people receiving their MMR jab is up nearly a quarter from last year, official figures show.

A national campaign to boost uptake was launched in January amid concern over measles rates in England, when the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) declared a national incident after a major outbreak in the West Midlands. The growth in infections shows no sign of abating, with a 40% increase in reported cases in England since March.

The latest NHS England data shows more than 360,000 MMR jabs were administered in the 12 weeks to 24 March 2024, a 23% rise. 

The new campaign encourages parents and carers of children aged from six to 11 to make an appointment with their child’s GP practice so they can receive missed MMR vaccinations, and just over a million people aged 11 to 25 in London and the West Midlands have also been encouraged to catch up on missed jabs. In order to keep measles at bay, more than 95% of children should be vaccinated, but NHS figures from December suggest England is only at about 85%.

With an estimated 3.4 million under-16s at risk of getting the virus, the campaign sent more than a million parents letters and emails inviting them to get their child vaccinated. Pop-up MMR clinics have been held in wellbeing buses, libraries and schools, pharmacies and outside supermarkets.

But measles cases continue to rise. According to UKHSA figures released last week, there were 103 new cases in the past week. The number of laboratory confirmed cases since 1 October 2023 rose to 1,212 , an increase of 40% on March’s figures . In October 2023, there were just 17.

The biggest increases in vaccination numbers were in the north-west, London and the West Midlands.

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Source: Guardian, 28 April 2024


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