Intended for healthcare professionals


Improving uptake of MMR vaccine

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:729
  1. Peter McIntyre, director,
  2. Julie Leask, research fellow
  1. 1National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
  1. PeterM{at}

Recognising and targeting differences between population groups are the priorities

Almost a decade since the original report suggesting a link between the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism or inflammatory bowel disease, we now have overwhelming evidence to refute such a link.1 Some people, however, still refuse to have their children vaccinated for MMR, and sometimes replace the combined vaccine with single antigen vaccines. In the accompanying study, Pearce and colleagues report uptake of the combined MMR vaccine and single antigen vaccines and they discuss the factors influencing uptake in a three year follow-up of the UK millennium cohort.2

Low MMR vaccine coverage is not a trivial matter, because the accumulation of unvaccinated children will increase the risk of measles outbreaks. Confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales rose from 56 in 1998 to 971 in 2007 (figure).3 In the United Kingdom, coverage for MMR at 24 months is lower than for other vaccines (85% versus about 94%). …

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