24 September 2020
NHS Digital has released the annual report on NHS Immunisation Statistics, England, 2019–20 today.
In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.
Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“Today’s publication of the annual childhood vaccination statistics for England shows a welcome small increase in uptake for most routine vaccinations but once again, none of them have reached the necessary uptake level of 95% at the correct timepoint.
“Vaccination is one of the safest and most effective methods we have to save lives and stop the spread of infectious diseases. The slight rise in uptake of routine childhood vaccinations in England is a step in the right direction but we must still take urgent action to overcome the ongoing trend of missing the 95% target set out by the World Health Organization. Low levels of vaccination coverage matter as it means diseases such as measles have the potential to spread within our communities, infecting unvaccinated people, including vulnerable individuals unable to have vaccinations such as young babies or people with cancer.
“There are many positive actions we can take to increase vaccine uptake including strengthening the role of local immunisation co-ordinators, ensuring services are accessible and widening outreach into communities. This should come together with increased engagement with parents to answer their questions and provide evidence-based information on vaccines. However, for these initiatives to be successful, we must ensure our immunisation services are properly funded.
“There are three areas that now require urgent action from the Government. Firstly, they must avoid further delay and publish their Vaccine Strategy on the steps they plan to take to increase childhood vaccine uptake as a matter of priority. Secondly, they must provide more information on plans for how oversight of the national immunisation programme will be fulfilled by the new National Institute for Health Protection. Lastly, these statistics do not cover the majority of the lockdown period and therefore, an important area of focus must be setting out dedicated plans for catch up vaccination services for any children who missed out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The UK is a world leader in vaccine research and the British Society for Immunology is committed to supporting our outstanding healthcare professional workforce to ensure that they are equipped to protect our children from these preventable diseases.”
Notes for editors
You can read the full NHS Digital report on England vaccinations statistics 2019–20 at https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-immunisation-statistics/england---2019-20.
You can download a copy of the British Society for Immunology’s 'Guide to childhood vaccinations'. This guide is designed to answer common questions that parents have around how vaccinations work and why they are important.
For more information, please contact:
Jennie Evans, Head of External Affairs
Tel: +44(0) 203 019 5912; Mob: +44(0) 7703 807 444
Teresa Prados, Communications Manager
Tel: +44(0) 203 019 5911