MMR vaccine: one in five children in Manchester are not fully vaccinated by their fifth birthday, data shows

Manchester has the lowest vaccination rate in the North West as the NHS has taken the decision to write to parents about getting their children jabbed.

More than one in five children in Manchester have not had their MMR vaccine, figures show.

The city’s level of youngsters who are not fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella by their fifth birthday is the highest in the North West.

Analysis of NHS Digital figures by our data team at our sister title NationalWorld shows how many youngsters are not fully vaccinated across the city-region.

Hundreds of thousands of children across England have not had their jabs, which has now prompted the NHS to write to parents.

What does the data show for Greater Manchester?

The data, which comes from NHS Digital and covers the period 2020-21 showed that 79.2% of children in Manchester had received both doses of their MMR vaccine by their fifth birthday.

This is the lowest rate of any local authority in the North West and the 25th lowest rate across England.

It means that 1,694 children aged five in the city were not fully protected against the three diseases.

A dose of the MMR vaccine being prepared by a nurse. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The next-lowest rate in Greater Manchester was in Salford, where 86.5% of youngsters were fully vaccinated by their fifth birthday.

The other vaccination rates across the city-region were 88.8% in Oldham, 89% in Bury, 89.9% in Tameside, 90.3% in Bolton, 90.9% in Rochdale, 91.3% in Wigan, 92.9% in Stockport and 93.1% in Trafford.

Across the North West as a whole 12.6% of children aged five or under were unvaccinated.

What has the NHS said about this?

The NHS is embarking on a major effort to drive up vaccination rates and is writing to the parents and carers of around 740,000 children aged between one and six who have not had both doses of the MMR vaccine.

Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine for protection, with the first one given around a youngster’s first birthday and the second when they are about three years and four months old.

Steve Russell, NHS director of vaccinations and screening, urged parents to have their child vaccinated and reiterated the safety of the vaccine.

He said: “The MMR vaccine is one of the most studied vaccines in the world, with millions of doses given every year – it is safe for your child, and will protect them, their friends and the wider community from these unpleasant but preventable diseases.

“If your child hasn’t been vaccinated yet, or is not up to date with their vaccinations, please contact your GP to book an appointment.”