Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Measles, mumps, and rubella: the need for a change in immunisation policy.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 07 June 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1501
  1. D Walker,
  2. H Carter,
  3. I G Jones


    There is growing evidence that the present policy of childhood immunisation in the United Kingdom is inadequate. It is unlikely ever to achieve complete eradication of the congenital rubella syndrome and measles, and the problem of mumps has not even begun to be addressed. After a coordinated campaign to increase uptake of immunisation in Fife the uptake of rubella immunisation in teenage girls increased from 75% in 1981 to 94% in 1985 and the uptake of measles vaccination in preschool children from 55% in 1981 to 81% in 1985. There are a few girls each year who do not accept rubella immunisation, whose immune state is unknown, and who are consequently at risk of rubella during future pregnancies. Despite the increased uptake of measles vaccine over the past four years there is currently an epidemic of measles in Fife, with 544 notified cases in the first quarter of 1986. In 1984, 19 Fife residents were admitted to hospital because of complications of mumps. The time is ripe for a complete reassessment of the national immunisation policy.