[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 21:17 GMT
MMR jab take-up rates up to 85%
Needles and vaccine
A third of parents distrust the Government over health issues
The number of children in the North East having the measles, mumps and rubella jab is higher than the national average, new research has revealed.

Around 85% of eligible children in the region have had the vaccine compared to 81% nationwide - 95% is the target.

But more than a third of parents are not convinced that there is no link between the jab and autism, according to a team from Durham University.

More than a third of parents also distrust government health advice.

The high level of concern about the safety of the vaccine expressed even by parents is worrying in its implications for public confidence and trust in health care
Dr Rachel Casiday

Around 1,000 parents took part in the postal survey into attitudes to the controversial vaccine led by Dr Rachel Casiday, of Durham University's Anthropology Department.

Take-up rates of the jab dropped throughout the UK, down to less than 70% in some areas, after a 1998 study of 12 children, linked it to autism.

Rates are now rising again with 85% of children having the jab in the Durham and Tees Valley area and 86% in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

Confidence crisis

Dr Casiday found that the public's confidence in the jab has been shaken with 20% of parents believing the government would not withdraw the vaccine even if it was found to be harmful.

The reasons given for their mistrust included the government's handling of BSE outbreaks and the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

It is still below target levels needed for immunity
Dr Rachel Casiday

The study found that around 7% of parents had opted for single vaccines - which meant 72 children received each jab individually.

But it also revealed only 19 of those children had had all three separate injections, often due to a shortage of the mumps vaccination.

More than 50% of parents whose children had had the MMR combination jab said they were not convinced about the safety of separate injections, the study also found.

The report concluded that: "The uptake of the MMR vaccine has not dropped as much as many feared in response to controversy, but it is still below target levels needed for immunity.

"Furthermore, the high level of concern about the safety of the vaccine expressed even by parents who had immunised their children is worrying in its implications for public confidence and trust in health care."

The study has been published in the Vaccine medical journal.


SEE ALSO:
Review call after MMR jab error
13 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Students urged to have mumps jab
15 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Teens at risk in mumps outbreak
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Study reveals parents' MMR views
16 Jul 05 |  Scotland


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific