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MMR vaccine coverage at 'highest for more than a decade'

The MMR vaccine has seen the highest recorded coverage in infants under two years old in 14 years, data shows.

More than 9 out of 10 children (91.2%) in England in 2011-12 had been immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) by their second birthday - up from 89.1% in 2010-11.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows 2011-12 was the first time MMR vaccine coverage passed 90% since 1997-98 - when it stood at 90.8% - and is 0.6% away from the coverage peak recorded in 1995-96 (91.8%).

The report NHS Immunisation Statistics, England, 2011-12 found MMR vaccination coverage has generally increased each year following a low of 79.9% in 2003-04.

“Our annual figures have tracked the course of immunisation coverage for several vaccines for children over the years including that for Measles Mumps and Rubella,” said HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan.

“Today's report marks a significant point in the continued rise of MMR coverage since it hit a low in 2003-04 - as for the first time in 14 years nine out of 10 children in England have had the MMR vaccine before they turn two.

“However although MMR coverage at two years has risen in all regions of England, and overall the country's coverage has increased in recent years, the national figure remains below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of at least 95%.”

MMR coverage during 2011-12 increased in all 10 strategic health authorities (SHAs) with the highest recorded coverage in the South Central SHA at 93.5%.

The lowest percentage was recorded in London SHA at 86.1% - when compared to 83.8% the previous year.