PHE issues warning on failure to provide children with MMR vaccine

27 August 2019

Article: 53/3403

Public Health England (PHE) has warned that one-in-seven children aged five years-old in England may not be fully up-to-date with routine immunisations, with the figure rising to around one-in-four children in London.

The estimates were released as part of PHE’s Value of Vaccines campaign, which shows some four- and five-year-olds are starting school at unnecessary risk of serious diseases, prompting a call for parents to check their child’s immunisation schedule is up-to-date.

In the UK, the first dose of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, is usually given to infants at around twelve months of age. A second dose is given before school, usually at three years and four months of age, to ensure best protection.
Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected. The 4-in-1 pre-school booster is also usually offered at three years and four months of age and protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.

Around 680,000 five-year-olds start school in England each year, according to Department for Education figures. Based on percentage uptake from latest vaccination coverage figures, PHE estimates that:

  • Over 30,000 five-year-olds may still need to receive their first dose of MMR, leaving them significantly more at risk compared to pupils who are fully vaccinated.
  • Around 90,000 five-year-olds in England may still need to receive their second dose of MMR vaccine. Almost 30,000 of these children are in London, meaning that around one-in-four primary school starters in the capital don’t have the full protection that the MMR vaccine offers.
  • Around 100,000 five-year-olds in England may still need their 4-in-1 pre-school booster.

Source: PHE, 19 August 2019