Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning that one in seven children aged five years may not be completely up to date with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunisation. This figure increases to one in four children in London. The warning comes in the wake of parents preparing their kids to start school in the coming weeks. An estimated 680,000 children aged five years start school every year in England.
A minimum of two doses of MMR vaccine in a lifetime are considered necessary to ensure protection. The first dose is administered to infants at around 12 months of age and the second dose before school, typically at three years and four months of age. A four-in-one pre-school booster is also offered at three years and four months of age to protect against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.
The latest vaccination coverage statistics indicate that around one in 19 five-year-olds may not have received their first dose of MMR vaccine and one in seven may not have received their second dose. Additionally, one in eight five-year-olds may be yet to receive their four-in-one pre-school booster.
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE's Head of Immunisation, said: "We’re particularly concerned about children being at greater risk of measles. We’re continuing to see outbreaks of the disease occurring in communities across the country, many linked to visiting European countries over the summer holidays."