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MMR's global success
Where MMR is in use around the world
Since it was introduced in the United States in 1975, use of the triple measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has spread around the developed world.

An estimated 500m doses of MMR have been administered, which is equivalent to approximately 10% of the world's population receiving the inoculation.

MMR users
More than 30 countries in Europe
Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United States
Countries are now advised to use MMR by the World Health Organisation, which recommends vaccination rates of 95% to completely stamp out the targeted diseases.

Scandinavian countries adopted the jab in the early 1980s and one of the biggest success stories has been Finland where measles, mumps and rubella have all been wiped out.

Britain adopted MMR in 1988 and now children in more than 30 European countries, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are given it.

Most countries using MMR recommend an initial injection at between 12 and 18-months-old and then a booster at up to six years, although in New Zealand the booster is administered at 11.

Compulsory vaccination

Despite the WHO recommendation, vaccination rates vary between 80% to 90% on average around the world.

In France MMR vaccination is compulsory in pre-school children yet total coverage stands at only 85%.

Like every other MMR-using country, France does not recommend the injection be divided into three separate jabs.

However, a separate measles vaccine is used for nursery school children at risk and a single rubella vaccination is given to some pregnant women - like other European countries - and a number of British parents are known to have travelled across the Channel in order to take advantage of those jabs.

Finnish success

But there is no separate mumps vaccine available, and each injection can cost around 200.

Finland's success in eradicating measles, mumps and rubella came in the wake of a determined drive to improve immunisation rates during the 1990s.

Japan used to have its own version of the MMR vaccine, but it was withdrawn in 1993 after unusually high rates of mumps meningitis following vaccination.

With no alternative available Japanese doctors switched to single measles and rubella vaccines given simultaneously.

But rates of both diseases rose and between 1992 and 1997 there were 79 measles deaths.


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06 Feb 02 | UK Politics
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