§ Mr. Sheerman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans his Department have to improve the uptake of measles and whooping cough vaccine.
§ Mrs. Currie
I am glad to say that the uptake rate in England and Wales for vaccination against measles improved from 63 per cent. in 1984 to 68 per cent. in 1985 but further improvement is essential if children are to be spared the avoidable distress and disability arising from this disease. A meeting of experts will be held next month under the aegis of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to consider afresh what steps might best be taken to achieve this.
On whooping cough, the chief medical officer and chief nursing officer wrote to all doctors and nurses on 21 July 1986 urging them to take what further steps they could to increase uptake levels. They pointed out that epidemics of this disease need not recur if an adequate level of immunity in the population could be attained.
The incidence of both diseases is kept under constant review, and we shall be considering what further action needs to be taken in the light of advice from the JCVI and others.