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Take up of MMR "needs to increase"

More children need to receive the MMR vaccine to ensure immunity in the community, new figures have revealed.

Statistics show 85% of youngsters received the jab in 2006-07 - up 1% on the previous year.

But the figure is still lower than the World Health Organisation recommendation of 95%, and lower than a decade ago, when 92% of children received the MMR jab.

Take up of the vaccine plunged to 80% after now-discredited research published in the Lancet in 1998 suggested a link between MMR and autism.

The latest figures, from the Information Centre for health and social care, show that uptake is lowest in London at less than 80%, although there have been problems with collecting data.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued a warning last month after the number of reported measles cases shot up over the summer.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "It is very encouraging that MMR vaccination rates increased across all regions of England, and we hope to see these increases continue.

"Research shows that parents' confidence in MMR vaccine is increasing, and this is usually a good indicator for future increases in vaccination uptake."

The Information Centre
The Health Protection Agency

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"No my son is now coming up to 3 and-a-half and I have been absolutely petrified to give it to him. I gave it to my daughter (now 11) after much angst, as the furore over the jab was very new. Fortunately she is fine, but I have heard that boys react to this vaccine much more, hence my reluctance. I am acutely aware of his vulnerability to these infections and his ability to then pass them on to others. It's a catch-22 and I don't trust this government or any other as far as I can throw them. Why didn't they just give parents the choice - single or triple, after all they are OUR children and any effects are felt by us not them" - Name and address supplied