MMR vaccine: Thousands of children in Birmingham at risk of risk measles, mumps and rubella
Thousands of children in the West Midlands and Birmingham have not been fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella by their fifth birthday, new figures reveal
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In some local authority areas, the number of five-year-olds who have not had the required two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and rubella) jab is as high as one-third.
Now, in a major drive to boost uptake, the NHS is contacting the parents and carers of 740,000 children aged between one and six who have not had one or both doses, saying one in ten were not up to date with their vaccinations. Children need two doses of vaccine for protection. The first dose given around the child’s first birthday, and the second dose given at around three years and four months old.
What are the MMR vaccination rates in the West Midlands?
The most recent available data from NHS Digital for the 2020/21 period shows that London had the greatest proportion of children under five unvaccinated against MMR with almost a quarter (24.9%) unvaccinated, followed by the West Midlands with 14.4% unvaccinated and the North West with 12.6% unvaccinated.
What about Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull?
In Birmingham, 78% of children were vaccinated by their fifth birthday (1 and 2nd dose), meaning 22.% had not had both doses by age 5.
This means 3837 children in the city have not received their MMR vaccine by age five. This is the 22nd worst MMR vaccination rate in the country.
In Solihull, 12.9% (354) of children in Solihull had not received their MMR vaccine by age five (both doses). This is the 38th worst MMR vaccination rate in the country.
And in Sandwell, 17.4% of aged 5 children (857) have not been fully vaccinated against MMR. This is the 38th worst rate in the country.
Dr Clara Day, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Birmingham and Solihull, said: “We are very aware that there are a significant number of children across Birmingham and Solihull who have not had necessary vaccinations and immunisations by the appropriate age. The local NHS is working really hard to encourage all parents to make appointments for their children with their local GP practice where required.
“Vaccination is a key part of giving a child the best start in life, and we are working to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic which saw a reduction in uptake are minimised, increasing uptake so that children do not suffer from avoidable and serious illnesses. We are finding that in spite of being called and booked for vaccinations, there are a high number of parents who do not attend their appointments. Our clinical teams are poised and ready to answer any questions about vaccines which parents might have to help encourage uptake.
“We are also reviewing how to improve convenient access to vaccination and immunisation appointments, including their locations, to make it as easy as possible for parents to take their children to get the best possible protection.”
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