BASINGSTOKE is one of the worst areas in the county for vaccinating babies against MMR, figures show.

Statistics from Public Health England show that North East Hampshire has one of the lowest rates of vaccinations compared to other parts of the United Kingdom. The life-saving vaccination protects youngsters from catching mumps, measles and rubella.

The figures show that 86.4 per cent of babies in North East Hampshire were given the vaccine in 2017-18, below the national average of 91.3 per cent.

In August the World Health Organisation announced that England no longer has a ‘measle-free’ status, three years after the virus was eliminated in the country.

The news prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order “urgent action” to improve vaccination uptake, after more than 230 cases of measles were reported in the UK during the first quarter of 2019.

He called for health leaders to renew their efforts to meet 95 per cent for both doses of MMR, with just 87 per cent of children across the country receiving their second dose of the jab, which has likely contributed to the spread of measles.

Speaking back in August, Mr Johnson said: “After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.

“This is a global challenge and there’s a number of reasons why people don’t get themselves or their children the vaccines they need, but we need decisive action across our health service and society to make sure communities are properly immunised.”

“From reassuring parents about the safety of vaccines, to making sure people are attending follow-up appointments, we can and must do more to halt the spread of infectious, treatable diseases in modern-day Britain.”

North East Hampshire was also 14th worst in the UK for two-year-olds receiving the Dtap/IPV/Hib vaccination in 2017-18, which protects children against various illnesses including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.