RCPCH responds to latest data on vaccination uptake

NHS Digital have released the childhood vaccination coverage statistics for 2017-18. Dr David Elliman looks at the possible factors that might be influencing uptake in routine vaccinations.

These statistics found that, in 2017-18, coverage declined in nine of the 12 routine vaccinations measured at 12 months, 24 months or five years in England compared to the previous year.

Coverage for the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine decreased for the fourth year in a row in 2017-18. Coverage for this vaccine is now at 91.2%, the lowest it has been since 2011-12.

Responding to the latest childhood vaccination coverage statistics, Dr David Elliman, Immunisation Expert for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

"Although the UK has high uptake rates for the routine vaccinations, excluding influenza, they are not high enough to maintain herd immunity. The consistent fall in uptake over a number of years is worrying. It may be due to a number of factors. Difficulties with data collection, particularly in London, may be a factor. General Practice, where most of the preschool immunisations are given, is under immense pressure and there is a shortage of practice nurses who actually give the vaccines.

"There is no evidence, in the UK, of any increase of concerns about vaccination. Communication between IT systems in NHS, use of reminders and staffing of General Practice should be addressed."