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Vaccination

MMR: the struggle for national coverage

Introduction of a measles vaccine in 1968 has reduced annual cases in England from around 460,000 to less than 1,000. However, the levels of vaccine coverage needed to eradicate measles remain elusive.

Measles infographic

Source: www.alisdairmacdonald.co.uk / JL

You can view the full infographic here.

Measles timeline

Source: Public Health England

Vaccine coverage for the first dose of MMR at two years dropped to a low of 79.9% in 2004 in the wake of a now discredited 1998 research paper from British doctor Andrew Wakefield linking it to autism. Coverage for the first dose of MMR in this age group has now reached 91.2%, still short of the 95% target.

Measles transmission

Source: European Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Measles is more contagious than many infectious diseases, with 90% of non-immune people exposed to measles becoming infected.

Measles immune set

Source: BMJ Open 2018;8:e021465

Research suggests that measles is associated with an increased frequency of other childhood infectious diseases because it destroys immune memory cells.

Measles imported cases

Source: European Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Ongoing outbreaks in Europe can lead to measles being imported to England and spreading among unvaccinated individuals.

Symptoms of measles

Measles and MMR: what pharmacists need to know — symptoms

Source: World Health Organization

Children with measles may have to spend five days in bed and miss two weeks of school.

Measles complications

Measles and MMR: what pharmacists need to know — complications

Source: Vaccine Knowledge Project

Measles can lead to serious complications, with 30% of cases in England having to be admitted to hospital.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206587

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Supplementary images

  • Measles infographic

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