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MMR catch up campaign floundering

By Lilian Anekwe

The GP-led MMR catch-up campaign still appears to be floundering, with minutes of the Government's advisory committee revealing that uptake has only risen slightly since its introduction.

Minutes of the latest meeting of the JCVI record an increase in uptake of just 1.8% in the number of children receiving two doses of MMR, suggesting parents have remained resistant to persuasion despite a raft of studies demonstrating the vaccine's safety.

The Department of Health launched the catch-up campaign in August last year aimed at children who had not received both doses of MMR vaccine, after the number of cases of measles rose by an ‘unprecedented' 36%, to hit 1,348, in England and Wales.

But the JCVI warned the modest boost from the programme would bring MMR coverage for both doses of the vaccine up to 79.7% in England and 84.1% in Wales – still far short of the 95% coverage level recommended by the World Health Organization for an effective vaccination programme.

‘The Department of Health intends to carry out further analysis in the near future,' the committee said.

In December, a Pulse investigation found the catch-up campaign had had little impact on uptake in the urban areas experts have warned are most at risk of a measles epidemic.

Despite GP's best efforts, only one of the PCTs approached reported an increase in uptake compared with the previous year.

MMR vaccine: catch up campaign is struggling MMR vaccine: catch up campaign is struggling

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