Mitigating Vaccine Hesitancy and Building Trust to Prevent Future Measles Outbreaks in England

Sarah Thompson, Johanna C. Meyer, Rosemary J. Burnett, Stephen M. Campbell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Measles, a highly infectious respiratory viral infection associated with severe morbidity and mortality, is preventable when coverage with the highly effective measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) is ≥95%. Vaccine hesitancy is responsible for measles outbreaks in countries where measles had previously been eliminated, including in England, and is one of the ten threats to global public health identified by the World Health Organization (WHO). Official administrative 2012–2021 data on measles incidence and MMR coverage in England were reviewed alongside a scoping literature review on factors associated with MMR uptake in England. Whilst measles incidence has reduced significantly since 2012, sporadic measles outbreaks in England have occurred with geographic disparities and variations in MMR coverage. Over the last decade, MMR uptake has fallen across all regions with no area currently reaching the WHO target of 95% coverage of both doses of MMR necessary for herd immunity. Factors associated with MMR coverage overlap with the 3C (convenience, complacency and confidence) model of vaccine hesitancy. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced pre-existing vaccine hesitancy. Increasing MMR uptake by reducing vaccine hesitancy requires allocated funding for area-based and targeted domiciliary and community-specific immunisation services and interventions, public health catch-up campaigns and web-based decision aid tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number288
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • 3c model
  • England
  • health inequalities
  • measles
  • measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • social inequalities
  • vaccine hesitancy


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