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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Continued suboptimal measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake has re-established measles epidemic risk, prompting a UK catch-up campaign in 2008-09 for children who missed MMR doses at scheduled age. Predictors of vaccine uptake during catch-ups are poorly understood, however evidence from routine schedule uptake suggests demographics and attitudes may be central. This work explored this hypothesis using a robust evidence-based measure. DESIGN: Cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire with objective behavioural outcome. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 365 UK parents, whose children were aged 5-18 years and had received <2 MMR doses before the 2008-09 UK catch-up started. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Parents' attitudes and demographics, parent-reported receipt of invitation to receive catch-up MMR dose(s), and catch-up MMR uptake according to child's medical record (receipt of MMR doses during year 1 of the catch-up). RESULTS: Perceived social desirability/benefit of MMR uptake (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.09-2.87) and younger child age (OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.68-0.89) were the only independent predictors of catch-up MMR uptake in the sample overall. Uptake predictors differed by whether the child had received 0 MMR doses or 1 MMR dose before the catch-up. Receipt of catch-up invitation predicted uptake only in the 0 dose group (OR = 3.45, 95% CI = 1.18-10.05), whilst perceived social desirability/benefit of MMR uptake predicted uptake only in the 1 dose group (OR = 9.61, 95% CI = 2.57-35.97). Attitudes and demographics explained only 28% of MMR uptake in the 0 dose group compared with 61% in the 1 dose group. CONCLUSIONS: Catch-up MMR invitations may effectively move children from 0 to 1 MMR doses (unimmunised to partially immunised), whilst attitudinal interventions highlighting social benefits of MMR may effectively move children from 1 to 2 MMR doses (partially to fully immunised). Older children may be best targeted through school-based programmes. A formal evaluation element should be incorporated into future catch-up campaigns to inform their continuing improvement.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adolescent, Age Factors, Attitude, Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Demography, Great Britain, Health Promotion, Humans, Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine, Parents, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Surveys and Questionnaires