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British Society for Immunology response to Prime Minister ordering urgent action to improve vaccination uptake

19 August 2019

Today, the Prime Minister is announcing urgent action to improve vaccination uptake in the UK. This follows news of 231 measles cases in the first quarter and the UK losing our 'measles-free' status.  In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement:

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“The British Society for Immunology welcomes today’s announcement by the Prime Minister to step up efforts to increase the UK’s childhood vaccination rate.   Vaccination is one of the safest and most effective methods we have to save lives and stop the spread of disease. 

“The UK losing its measles-free status does not come as a surprise to those of us who have followed the worrying increase in measles cases over the past couple of years.  Measles is highly contagious disease that can lead to serious consequences for those infected, but it is preventable with the use of the MMR vaccine.  In order to protect our communities against measles, it’s imperative that we reach the 95% vaccination target set out by the World Health Organization.  Currently, in England, only 87.2% of children aged five have received the required two doses of MMR vaccine. We must do better and today’s announcement by Number 10 to promote ‘catch-up’ vaccinations, strengthen the role of local immunisation coordinators and improve accurate, evidence-based information provision is certainly an important step in the right direction.  However, in order for this strategy to be successful, it is crucial that it is adequately funded, particularly with regards to targeting areas with low uptake and to tailoring specific local interventions to under-vaccinated communities.

“Improving vaccine uptake is a complex issue and it requires many stakeholders, including the Government, NHS, local authorities and local communities, to work together to prioritise immunisation services and learn lessons from regions that are performing well. The British Society for Immunology looks forward to playing our part to increase immunisation rates and ensure the future health of our nation’s children.”

Notes to editors

This statement is in response to today’s announcement on “Prime Minister orders urgent action to improve vaccination uptake”

For further enquiries, please contact:

Jennie Evans, British Society for Immunology; Tel: 0203 019 5912; Mob: 07773 807 444; Email:

The British Society for Immunology is the leading UK organisation working with scientists and clinicians to forward immunology research and application around the world.  Find out more about our work at   We produce a free 'Guide to Childhood Vaccinations' which provides evidence-based information for parents on how vaccines work and why they are important.  You can download a free copy from