Rate of childhood immunisation in Lewisham “not good enough”

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter

The rate of childhood immunisation in Lewisham is “still not good enough”, according to the council’s cabinet member for health and adult social care.

Figures published last week showed that the borough’s uptake of childhood vaccines has fallen in almost all the childhood immunisations over the last three years.

Herd immunity works when enough of the population becomes immune to a disease, whether through vaccination or previous infections.

It also protects those who are unable to get vaccinated because of health conditions, age, compromised immune systems, or allergies.

In 2017/18, 89.6 per cent of two-year-old children received the MMR1 vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, but this dropped to 84.8 per cent in following year and remained the same for 2019/20.

This is more than 10 per cent lower than what is needed for herd immunity (95 per cent).

Just over 90 per cent of children aged one received the six-in-one vaccine, which offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), in 2017/18.

The figure dropped to 89.1 per cent the following year, and rose to 90 per cent in 2019/20.

The number of children who received the HIB/Meningitis C booster at two years went from 89.4 per cent in 2017/18 to 84.9 per cent in 2018/29 and down again to 84.3 per cent last year.

At a full council meeting last week, Councillor Alan Hall urged the cabinet member for health and adult social care to “ensure that there’s a public awareness campaign on the importance of maintaining all these vaccinations” and “to promote the influenza vaccine in Lewisham for both children and vulnerable adults”.

The percentage of people over 65 getting the flu vaccine dropped by nearly five per cent to 63.2 per cent in 2019/20.

The cabinet member for health and adult social Cllr Chris Best said Lewisham’s performance was better than the London average.

“But of course it’s still not good enough on childhood immunisation,” she said.

Cllr Best said the council is working closely with an immunisation partner to improve uptake, and agreed that a campaign is needed.

“We are working closely with the CCG, we are improving the call and recall of the parents for childhood immunisation by the GPs.”


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