14/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

More Children Having MMR Jabs Than Ever Before

Uptake of MMR jabs at highest ever level

The uptake of the MMR jab is at its highest level ever. In 2012/13, 92.3 per cent of children in England had been immunised by their second birthday, compared to 80 per cent when the jab was first introduced in 1988.

Youngsters have their second dose of the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella before they start school, usually between the ages of three and five.

The lowest recorded figure for the first dose was in 2003/04, when just 79.9 per cent of children were immunised.

Research published in 1998 suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism led to a dramatic decline in the number of children being vaccinated. The study, led by Dr Andrew Wakefield, has since been discredited by scientists around the world.

While healthcare professionals will welcome the latest figures, coverage in England is still below the 95 per cent target set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), found MMR coverage has increased regionally as well as nationally.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: "Routine vaccination in childhood is vital in protecting children from a range of infectious diseases, many of which have now been consigned to history.

"The findings from HSCIC's report are a good indication that parents and children are increasingly able to access primary care to receive these vaccinations and to protect their health for the years to come.

"This is a good reminder to parents to ensure their child's vaccinations are up-to-date, and, if not, to contact their GP."