Vaccine success

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WIGAN’S health services are leading the way in the fight against childhood diseases according to the latest figures.

In the borough, the amount of children immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) by their second birthday is the fourth highest in the North West - 92.7 per cent.

Nationally the figure was only 89.1 per cent and in the North West as a whole it was 91.2 per cent. NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan (NHSALW) also features high up the list in terms of inoculating youngsters against Meningitis C, with 96 per cent of youngsters receiving the inoculation before their second birthday - the eighth highest in the region.

Nationally, the picture shows that the percentage of the English child population immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) by their second birthday continues to rise and is closing on the percentage high seen in the mid-1990s.

According to NHS Immunisation Statistics, England 2010-11, in 2010-11 89.1 per cent of children in England had received the MMR vaccine by their second birthday, compared to 88.2 per cent in 2009-10.

The report also shows the reported percentage of children vaccinated against other diseases is growing.

After a low of 79.9 per cent in 2003-4, the reported percentage of children immunised against MMR has increased in most years.

However, the current figure is still slightly lower than in the mid-1990s when over 90 per cent of children received the vaccine, and remains below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of more than 95 per cent.

NHS Information Centre Chief Executive Tim Straughan said: “The percentage of our child population immunised with the MMR vaccine continues to rise.

“However, even though the figure has reached nearly 90 per cent, it is still below the World Health Organization target of more than 95 per cent. While there is understandable interest in MMR, today’s report also shows the percentage of children in England immunised with other vaccines, against diseases like Meningitis C, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, has also risen.”

However, one field where health chiefs would like to see an increase in people taking up vaccinations is for the flu virus.

The report also revealed that only 73.7 per cent of people in the borough aged over five years old had the flu jab between September 2010 and February 2011 - the sixth lowest rate in the North West.

The North West average is 74.6 per cent.