South Tyneside leads the way on MMR jabs

More children in South Tyneside are being vaccinated against MMR than almost anywhere else in England, new figures show.

South Tyneside MMR figures.
South Tyneside MMR figures.

NHS England is urging parents to ensure their children get the jab – which protects against measles, mumps and rubella – after the uptake rate across the country fell to its lowest level in more than a decade.

For a child to be fully protected, they should receive two vaccinations, the first around their first birthday and the second when they are three.

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NHS Digital figures show 94.3% of youngsters in South Tyneside were fully vaccinated by their fifth birthday in 2021-22 – putting the area among those with the highest levels of coverage in the country.

Across England, the uptake rate has fallen to the lowest level seen in 11 years – 85.7%, compared to 86.6% the previous year.

Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, said the latest figures, which also show a decrease in national uptake for other childhood jabs such as the six-in-one vaccine, are "extremely worrying".

He said: "Immediate action to reverse this alarming multi-year downward trend and protect our communities from preventable diseases is urgently needed.

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"Vaccines save lives and are the safest and most effective method to protect our children against disease.”

Steve Russell, NHS director of vaccinations and screening, said: “It is important that parents make sure their children are protected against MMR. The vaccine is one of the most studied in the world, safe, and will protect children, their friends and the wider community from these unpleasant but preventable diseases."