Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 16:34 UK

MMR take-up rate 'low in London'

The vaccine protects against mumps, measles, and rubella

Fewer than half of all five-year-olds in London have had the MMR vaccine and booster jab.

Figures from the NHS show only 49% of children had received the first and second dose of the vaccine by their fifth birthday.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Last month the government began a campaign to raise MMR vaccination rates in England, amid growing concerns about a measles epidemic.

The MMR jab is first given at about 13 months of age and the child is then given a pre-school booster.

The Primary Care Trusts (PCT) with the highest percentage of children who had received the MMR vaccination and booster by their fifth birthday are Kingston (76%), Hammersmith & Fulham (69%) and Sutton & Merton (68%).

Measles represents the single biggest avoidable infectious disease risk in London today
NHS London spokesman

The PCTs that fare the worst are Newham (42%), Islington (43%), and Brent Teaching (43%).

James Cleverly, chairman of the London Assembly Health and Public Services Committee, said: "The gap between coverage levels achieved in the capital and the national average is widening.

"Compared to the country's average of 74%, only 49% of children in the capital have had the MMR vaccine and booster by their fifth birthday.

"This is unacceptable."

Experts said the MMR vaccine should not be a cause for concern, but vaccination rates fell following controversy about its safety.

A spokesman for NHS London said in August a grant of 60,000 was announced for each London PCT to to raise the uptake of the MMR vaccine.

"Many people consider measles to be a relatively minor childhood illness, but it can have serious complications," he said.

"Measles represents the single biggest avoidable infectious disease risk in London today."

Doctors issue plea over MMR jab
26 Jun 06 |  Health

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