UPTAKE of first dose MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, for two-year-olds, remained above the minimum 95 per cent target in Gwent during July-September last year.

But second dose MMR uptake (five-year-olds), and that for first and second dose at age 16, remained below the 95 per cent level.

Within Gwent, uptake rates vary notably. For first dose MMR, Blaenau Gwent led the way during July-September last year, the last quarter for which figures are available, with 97.7 per cent. But Newport (94. per cent) and Torfaen (94.4 per cent) were below the target.

Overall the uptake in Gwent that quarter was 95.6 per cent, above the all-Wales rate (94.9 per cent).

For second dose MMR however, 91.5 per cent of eligible children in Gwent were vaccinated during July-September.

This is above the all-Wales rate (90.5 per cent), but below the target, and again rates vary.

In Blaenau Gwent that quarter, the uptake rate was 95.9 per cent, but this was the only part of Gwent, and the only part of Wales, to come in above target.

By contrast, the uptake of second dose MMR in Torfaen was 88.7 per cent, one of the lowest in Wales.

For MMR at 16 years of age - for those who missed out one or both doses when younger - the picture is mixed.

Caerphilly and Torfaen registered above-target uptake of MMR 1 at 16, while Monmouthshire, at 86.1 per cent, was the lowest in Wales.

The Gwent rate was 93.1 per cent, below the all-Wales rate (94.3 per cent).

Uptake of MMR2 at 16 however, is well below target across Wales, with an overall rate for July-September 2017 of 86.7 per cent.

In Gwent, MMR 2 uptake at 16 ranged from 91.7 per cent, in Caerphilly and Torfaen, to 86.1 per cent in Newport.

Ninety-five per cent is set as the minimum target because experts consider this to be the uptake rate at which the risk of outbreaks is minimised, and so-called ‘herd immunity’ is achieved.

This sort of uptake across the doses needs to be maintained however, for that ‘herd immunity’ to strengthen.