York behind vaccination target against ‘very severe’ MMR disease

A doctor in the city said that’s because parents don’t realize how serious these illnesses are.

New NHS figures show that 86.5% of teenagers in York have received two doses of the MMR vaccine by their fifth birthday in 2022/23, below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of 95%.

The coverage rate also dropped from 89.1% the previous year.

Dr. David Fair, of Jorvik Medical Group in York, said parents needed to do more to protect their children from these diseases.

Dr Fair said: “The numbers are falling across the country. This largely reflects the fact that so few parents are now aware of the seriousness of these diseases.

“Measles is a very serious infectious disease with a high mortality rate even in otherwise healthy children. Even if it doesn’t kill your child, the measles virus can cause severe and permanent brain damage.

“There were rumors in the past that the MMR vaccine could cause autism. This alarmed many parents, who understandably thought it was best to avoid the risk. Fortunately, this rumor has now been thoroughly debunked.”

York Press: Across England this is the lowest level since 2010/11Across England, this is the lowest level since 2010/11 (Image source: Newsquest)

“There has been a significant decrease in the number of cases in the UK recently and this could easily spread quickly to all unvaccinated children. Childhood vaccinations are free on the NHS and delivered by GPs.

“There are good reasons to protect your family from these dangerous, avoidable diseases.”

Across England, 84.5% of five-year-olds have had their second dose of vaccine by 2022/23. This is the lowest level since 2010/11.

In the UK, babies also need vaccinations against meningitis B and rotavirus at eight weeks of age. They also receive a “six-in-one” vaccination that helps fight polio, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (a bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections).

Nationally, none of the vaccines met the World Health Organization’s 2022/23 targets. Similarly, in York, no infants met the 95% childhood vaccination rate.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said it was vital that routine childhood vaccinations were up to date.

The spokesman said: “The UK has world-leading services and we have run a number of catch-up campaigns to improve coverage, including a national catch-up campaign for MMR and London-specific campaigns for MMR and polio.

“We urge parents and carers to check that their child’s vaccinations are up to date and if not, they should make an appointment to catch up.”

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