England: School starters at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases

04 October 2019

One in seven five-year-olds may not be fully up to date with some routine immunisations, Public Health England (PHE) has cautioned, with the figure rising to around one in four children in London.

The estimates, released as part of PHE’s Value of Vaccines campaign, show that some four- and five-year-olds have started school at unnecessary risk of serious diseases.

With around 680,000 five-year-olds starting school in England each year, PHE estimates that around one in 19 may still need to receive their first dose of MMR, one in seven may still need their second dose, and one in eight may still need their 4-in-1 pre-school booster, which protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: ‘It’s a real concern that so many young children – as many as a quarter of a reception class in some areas – could be starting school without the full protection that NHS immunisation offers for free.’

One in 19 are yet to receive their first dose of MMR, and one in seven may still need their second

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