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Half a million UK children missed measles vaccination between 2010-2017

An estimated 527,000 infants in the UK missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, a recent survey conducted by UNICEF has found.  

Thie figures come just days after Public Health England said there had been 47 cases of measles across Greater Manchester in 2019, more than the whole of the previous two years combined. 

Only two other top-income countries, the United States (2,593,000) and France (608,000), have more infants at risk of measles than the UK, according to the analysis.  

In high income countries, coverage for the first dose is 94%, but coverage for the second dose drops to 91%.  

The World Health Organization recommends a threshold of 95% immunisation coverage to achieve herd immunity.  

A rising number of children are missing out on the measles vaccination worldwide, with UNICEF warning that 21 million a year are needlessly put a risk of contracting the disease.  

Major factors for low income countries include lack of access and poor health systems, while fear and skepticism contribute to the rise of measles in wealthier countries, said the charity.  

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said: ‘The ground for the global measles outbreaks we are witnessing today was laid years ago. The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children. If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike.’ 

She continued: ‘Measles is far too contagious. It is critical not only to increase coverage but also to sustain vaccination rates at the right doses to create an umbrella of immunity for everyone.’