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Warning as MMR jab uptake among Islington children falls

Number of youngsters being given vaccine dips well below the national average

07 February, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Cllr Janet Burgess: ‘We strongly encourage all parents and guardians to ensure that their children complete the full course of MMR vaccinations’

THE number of Islington children being given the MMR vaccine has fallen, sparking a warning from a leading paediatrician.

The uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine has fallen to 72 per cent of children up to the age of five in 2018/19, according to the Town Hall. The figure is well below the national average of 90 per cent for the same period.

The number of Islington children being vaccinated has fallen year on year from 90 per cent in 2014-15. This follows a similar trend nationally.

Emily Bolland, a paediatric consultant at Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “Measles is a serious condition which can have serious and life-changing consequences for children who catch it.

“Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect our children from the disease.

“It is vital that all children receive their MMR vaccines.”

Between 1994-95 and 1996-97 there was a relatively steady rate of MMR vaccine coverage for children reaching their second birthday in England, of around 91 per cent.

But in 1998 a now discredited article appeared in the Lancet medical journal which linked the MMR vaccination to autism.

Uptake then decreased significantly, and by 2003-04 only 80 per cent of children were vaccinated. The Lancet fully retracted the article in 2010, and uptake subsequently increased, reaching 93 per cent in 2013-14.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms.

In 2018, there were more than 140,000 measles deaths globally, mostly among children under the age of five.

Ms Bolland added: “If you have concerns about vaccine safety I would encourage you to discuss them with your GP.

“They can provide you with trustworthy, reliable and factual information. Be cautious about some information online which may not be based on scientific evidence and could put your child at risk.”

Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health and social care, said: “We strongly encourage all parents and guardians to ensure that their children complete the full course of MMR vaccinations, which are a safe and effective way to protect them from measles, mumps and rubella.

“As well as protecting your own child, the course also protects other people in the community by preventing the spread of diseases to those who cannot have vaccinations.

“Measles is a highly infectious disease that will make your child very unwell and can have serious complications.”


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