MMR jab take-up increases

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The number of children being given the controversial MMR jab has risen slightly in the past year. In 2005-06, 84 per cent of two-year-olds in England had the MMR jab, up from 81 per cent in 2004-05.

Figures from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care showed a rise for the second year running. But they are still down on the 92 per cent peak 10 years ago. Uptake of the MMR jab fell to 80 per cent in 1998 after scientists, writing in The Lancet medical journal, linked it to autism. Numerous studies have failed to show correlation.

Figures for the combined diphtheria, tetanus and polio jab showed an uptake of 94 per cent, which has stayed steady for the past five years. But that marks a fall from 96 per cent in 1995, the Centre said.

Uptake of the jabs for whooping cough (pertussis) and Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) have changed little over the past decade, remaining about 94 per cent.

Rates for childhood immunisations are similar across the regions, apart from London, where take-up is lower for all vaccinations. The uptake of the flu jab among over-65s has also gone up from 71 per cent last year to 75 per cent this year.

Highest uptake was in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire where 78 per cent of seniors had the jab; the lowest rate of 68 per cent was in south-east London.