Introduction In March 2012 there was Measles outbreak in Gwynedd because of poor MMR vaccination uptake rates.
Aims To review MMR vaccine uptake in primary and secondary schools in Caerphilly Borough and to identify schools with suboptimal uptake rates of MMR vaccine which are at risk of Measles outbreak.
Methods MMR vaccine uptake in primary & secondary schools in Caerphilly Borough obtained from Child Health database. Children immunised were born during September 1994 to Aug 2007.
Results There are 87 schools in Caerphilly Borough (Primary-71, Secondary-14, Special needs-1 and Independent-1). Average MMR uptake in primary schools (Children immunised from September 2005–June 2012) was 95% and in secondary schools (Children immunised from September 1994–August 2005) was 85.7%. 54% (38/71) of primary schools have MMR uptake rates above 90% whereas no secondary schools have MMR uptake rates above 90%. 60 (71) in primary schools and 10 (16) in secondary schools have MMR uptake rates above 85%. There were 2 primary schools with ≥ 95% MMR uptake. Highest MMR uptake in secondary schools was 89.7%. Lowest MMR uptake in primary schools was 76% and in secondary schools was 64%.
Conclusion 85 out of 87 (97.7%) schools had uptake rates below 95% required for Herd immunity. Secondary schools are at particular risk.
Discussion An article written by Andrew Wakefield et al. (published in Lancet, 1998) about 12 autistic children stated the possibility of a link between MMR vaccine and autism which was latter proven wrong and retracted. Children who are currently aged 11–18 years would have been born during 1994–2001 and would have been offered primary MMR during 1995–2002 and catch up MMR during 1997–2004, is a plausible explanation for low MMR uptake rates in secondary schools.
Recommendations Targeted catch up MMR immunisation to those schools identified as having MMR rates below 95%. Also whenever children seen by health professionals, their immunisation status should be clarified and carers advised to ask their GP for the catch up MMR immunisation.