London has the lowest rate of coverage of routine vaccinations for children, according to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
For conditions such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio (DTaP/IPV), to London, saw a rate of 90.6%, compared with the North East, the region with the highest level of coverage, which recorded coverage of 96.8%. London had the lowest rate of coverage for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) also varied across regions as well, with 87.3% of children being vaccinated before their second birthday, compared with 95.2% in the North East. The WHO has set a target of 95% coverage for vaccinations, which was achieved by 18 of the 25 NHS England Area Teams in 2014-15.
A spokesperson for NHS England (London) said: ‘In the capital, the number of children receiving vaccinations generally remains high, although London does have slightly lower than average reported uptake of the MMR vaccine. This is because the situation here is unique – we have a large and growing population – with high birth and migration rates. As well as this, London has a very mobile population with an estimated 40% to 60% turnover of patients in GP practice lists each year. The reported figures are likely to include children who are no longer residents here but due to legal and security reasons, are yet to be removed from the system. This could make our uptake look lower than it actually is.’
Overall rates of vaccination coverage in England saw a small decrease compared to previous years. For MMR vaccination in 2014-15 was 92.3%, down from 92.7% in 2012-2013. The figures showed that in 2014-15, 94.2% of children had received the DTaP/IPV vaccination. This is compared with 94.7% in 2012-2013.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: ‘Despite a small decrease in overall routine vaccination coverage at one and two years, on the whole vaccination coverage remains high. The data does show some local variation with the highest coverage achieved in the North East and the lowest levels in London. However, most regions achieved the WHO’s target of 95% coverage for key immunisations, although there is still work to be done to ensure all regions meet this target.’