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Uptake of MMR surges by 6.4 per cent

The first signs are emerging of a recovery of parental confidence in MMR vaccine, with a surge in uptake over the past six months.

Sentinel surveillance data published by the Health Protection Agency last week revealed uptake in children aged 16 months has risen 6.4 per cent since February to stand at 70.9 per cent in August.

Agency officials said there were also hints that parents who had refused MMR were changing their minds. Uptake in the group of children who were 24 months in August 2002 rose from 84.3 to 88.0 per cent by the time they turned three.

Dr Natasha Crowcroft, consultant epidemiologist at the agency, said the surge in uptake should begin feeding through to the two-year-old coverage data ­ on which GPs' target pay is based ­ next year.

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