Continued rise in MMR uptake

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Health chiefs in Wigan have hailed the latest set of vaccination uptake figures which show the borough is outperforming the rest of the UK.

Data released by Wigan Council’s public health team illustrates how an increasing number of parents are taking their young children for the MMR jab.

According to the latest statistics, 96.7 per cent of five-year-olds had the jab during the six months between April and September last year.

That figure stands above the national average of 95 per cent.

Likewise, 95.8 per cent of Wigan children at the age of two - when the first of two MMR jabs is administrated - were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella.

The figures, collated by NHS England, also shows Wigan’s vaccination uptake is higher than the Greater Manchester average.

And the latest statistics show childhood vaccinations which feature on the national immunisation programme – which includes diphtheria, tetanus, polio and meningitis C – are also rising in Wigan.

The borough has reached the national target levels for the number of children having the course of vaccinations to offer protection from the serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “Some people might think that because thankfully these conditions are rare there is no need to make sure their child is vaccinated.

“But it is precisely because so many families make sure their children are immunised that the risk these potentially fatal illnesses pose are removed. The immunisation programme is so important as it helps to protect children and I would urge parents to make sure your child has their vaccinations.”

In the past, many parents were put off from giving the MMR jab to their children after a leading doctor published a study in medical journal linking the triple vaccine to a rise in autism. Those claims were subsequently debunked following revelations by an investigative journalist.