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NHS England criticised over falling pre-school vaccination rates

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NHS England criticised over falling pre-school vaccination rates

The NHS England said it will step up efforts to stem the drop in vaccination rates after a report by the National Audit Office (NOA) criticized inconsistencies in the current system.

The study found that the 95% occupancy target for six of the seven preschool jabs had been missed in 2018/19.

The 95% immunization benchmark should produce so-called herd immunity, which arises when a high percentage of the population is protected by vaccination against viruses or bacteria, making it difficult to spread a disease because there are so few people susceptible to infection.

Two doses at the age of five of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) jab are required to provide immunity, but currently only 86.4% of children are using the second injection. In some areas of London, the rate is as low as 67%.

Meanwhile, the Hib / MenC booster (to protect against potentially fatal haemophilus influenzae type B and meningitis C) at the ages of two and five has never exceeded 95% and continues to fall.

The NOA report found that vaccination rates for young children had been falling since 2012/13, with reasons including time and availability of medical appointments and parents in need of child care, as well as families moving from an area. to another with "no consistent system" to call or call children. .

However, it found "limited evidence of any major impact on vaccination adoption rates" in anti-vaccination messages on social media.

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Describing what he believed to be the main reasons for the drop in rates, he said: "When primary care trusts were abolished in 2013, the NHS England took responsibility for call / recall commissioning.

"NHS England has not set GP / call requirements under the amended provisions.

"As a result, the call / retrieval is inconsistent and there is no coherent system.

The report said children are called for vaccines "to varying extent through GP practices" and also by the Children's Health Information Services (CHIS).

But while NHS England verifies how the call and the call are handled by CHIS, it does not review the work done by GPs.

The Royal College of GPs said the system for notifying patients when jabs were due was done practice by practice and agreed with the NAO that a more standardized approach would be a sensible measure to consider.

Responding to the study, the NHS England said it would introduce a consistent way to remind people to participate in vaccinations, although details have not yet been agreed with family doctors.

He said he also intends to increase the money given to GPs to ensure children have MMR, and work to create GP surgery networks, which could mean more evening and weekend appointments.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director, said: "One of the most effective, inexpensive and essential tools to keep us all safe is a simple and free scam – it can save your child's life.

"Looking for ways to expand access to appointments will make it even easier for parents to protect their children.

"It is vital that everyone takes this life-saving opportunity and is not influenced by the dangerous marketing of fake antivirus information."

The NOA report comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last month that he is seriously considering mandatory vaccination for children trying to combat falling rates.

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