VACCINATION uptake for children under the age of two in Bournemouth has increased, despite a fall across England.

In 2017/18, 92.3 per cent of eligible children in the borough had been given their first MMR jab by the age of two a rise from less than 80 per cent seven years earlier.

Although uptake is still below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 95 per cent target, the rise goes against the England trend which has seen a decrease in uptake for the last four years.

Figures published by Public Health England last year showed that 91.2 per cent of two-year-olds in England had received measles, mumps and rubella vaccine – the lowest level since 2011/12.

Experts have described the national rate as “worryingly low”.

Despite the national fall, a report to Bournemouth council’s children’s services scrutiny committee says that there has been “a marked improvement” in the borough.

Sam Crowe, its acting director of public health, says: “The proportion of eligible children at two years receiving their first dose of MMR was 92.3 per cent in 2017/18, compared with 79.9 per cent in 2010/11.

“Although not yet at the 95 per cent coverage target recommended by WHO, it is a marked improvement.

“Work is continuing with some practices locally to further improve these coverage levels.”

There was a sharp rise in the number of cases of measles reported across the UK last year with 643 cases reported in just the first five-and-a-half months of 2017 – compared to 274 for the whole of 2017.

At the beginning of the year, the WHO listed ‘vaccine hesitancy’ – the refusal or reluctance to vaccinate – as one of the 10 threats to global health in 2019.

A report published by the Royal Society for Public Health earlier this week calls for more convenient vaccination locations and more work to tackle misinformation surrounding vaccines in a bid to increase uptake.

It found that two in every five parents had been exposed to negative messages about vaccines on social media while more than a quarter of people incorrectly believed you could have too many vaccinations.