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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
MMR vaccine rate falls
The MMR vaccination rate is well below the official target
Vaccination rates are down
The number of children who have had the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine by the second birthday is well below official targets.

Figures published on Thursday for England show 84% have had the jab, 11% below the government's target.

The Department of Health has published data for 2001 to 2002 covering all the main childhood immunisations.

The figure for the controversial MMR jab, which some fear is linked to autism and bowel disease, is 3% lower than in 2000 to 2001 and 8% lower than in 1995 to 1996.

Official targets say 95% of children should be immunised against MMR, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) by their second birthday to protect the wider population from the risk of epidemics.

Meningitis C vaccine rise

In 2001 to 2002, 94% of children had been immunised against diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) by their second birthday, the first time in nine years it has fallen before the target rate.

Ninety three per cent were given the Hib vaccine, which is 2% lower than peak coverage in 1996-8.

The same proportion had been immunised by the age of two against whooping cough, just 1% lower than in 1996 to 1997.

Vaccination rates for meningitis C are gradually rising, up 1% on the estimated figure for 2000-1.

In addition, about 742,000 people including 83,000 infants under one had been given BCG vaccinations to protect them from tuberculosis.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "The figures show that uptake at age two for most vaccines in the childhood immunisation programme remains close to 95%, which is very encouraging.

"This is the World Health Organisation recommended target for working towards the worldwide elimination of these diseases.

"Uptake figures of just below this target will not have any significant effect on levels of protection in the community."


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18 Sep 02 | Health
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