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Low child vaccine uptake sees tipping-point warning

The UK is at a "tipping point", with low uptake of routine vaccinations putting children at risk of catching severe diseases, health officials say.

Stalling vaccination rates against some diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, means population immunity is no longer high enough to stop outbreaks.

Latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), for January-March, show a small increase in some vaccinations, including a 0.3% rise in pre-school booster jabs given to under-fives.

But targets are still being missed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) target is for 95% of under-fives to be vaccinated.

And for the six-in-one jab - against whooping cough, polio and tetanus - and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine this was exceeded in Scotland and Wales.

But for the UK as a whole only 91.5% of under-twos had received the six-in-one jab - and among the whole under-five age group, the proportion was just 84.5%.

he UK's vaccine committee head, paediatrician Prof Sir Andrew Pollard, is "really worried" by the recent rise in whooping, or "100-day", cough, also known as pertussis, which can be particularly serious for babies and infants.

"We've already seen some deaths from the most recent outbreak," He told BBC News.

"We're really at a tipping point, where there's a real risk for more children getting seriously ill or [dying] from diseases we can prevent."

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Source: BBC News, 25 June 2024


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