On 1 February the UK Health Security Agency warned that coverage of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine’s first dose had dropped below 90% in 2 year olds. By age 5, uptake of two doses had dropped to 85.5%—well below the World Health Organization’s 95% target needed for elimination of measles.
The latest quarterly vaccination figures show very small drops in uptake in England from July to September 2020, and uptake continued to decline over the next year.
And it’s not just MMR: small decreases have been seen in coverage of other childhood vaccines including the combined diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccine, as well as those for rotavirus and meningitis B. But MMR is the one that public health officials worry about most because of historically lower uptake and the risks of outbreaks.
With uptake of the MMR vaccine falling in the UK, Emma Wilkinson examines whether anti-vaccination sentiment around Covid-19 has played a part.