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Pneumococcal vaccine gets go-ahead in child schedule

Hopes of an improvement in MMR uptake have been dashed after figures fell for the second successive quarter.

National uptake in two-year-olds fell from 81.5

per cent to 81.3 per cent in

the three months from July, according to data collected

by the Health Protection Agency's COVER programme.

Uptake had fallen from 81.9 per cent to 81.5 per

cent in the previous quarter, after confidence in MMR had appeared to return during 2003.

There are fears the true figure could be even lower after HPA data suggested COVER might be overestimating uptake because some children were not registered with a GP.

But the HPA said it had predicted the drop in uptake through surveillance of children at 16 months of age and believed it was only a blip.

Dr Natasha Crowcroft, head of the HPA's vaccine uptake programme, said: 'This surveillance currently indicates that we may see coverage at 24 months rise slightly.'

She said she was encouraged by slight increases in uptake in the East Midlands, the South East, the North West, Wales and Scotland.

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