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.


Source: / JL

You can view the full infographic here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


MMR: measles, mumps and rubella

Editorial adviser: Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist, immunisation and countermeasures division, Public Health England.

Infographic: JL



Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2019, Vol 302, No 7925;302(7925):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206587

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