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MMR catch-up campaign spreads

The Department of Health is planning to roll out MMR catch-up programmes around the country in the wake of the successful programme in London.

The Department of Health is planning to roll out MMR catch-up programmes around the country in the wake of the successful programme in London.

The news came as the latest figures from the Health Protection Agency showed uptake of MMR vaccine was rising but still a long way from 95 per cent coverage at between 83.7 and 87.2 per cent.

The catch-up programmes in primary school children are being planned in a number of PCTs in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency and roll-out will commence later this year, a department spokeswoman confirmed.

Dr Liz Miller, head of the immunisations department at the HPA, said: 'Catch-up is down to local policy, but there are a number of places where they are considering it at the moment.' She added that uptake was 'sub-optimal, but going in the right direction'.

The HPA also reported a dramatic increase in cases of measles in the first quarter of 2006.

So far 72 cases of measles have been reported in 2006 compared with 77 cases in the whole of 2005. One 13-year-old boy has died

Dr Miller said the increase in measles cases was attributable to outbreaks in the travellers community and was likely to be self-contained.

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