The number of children getting vaccinated decreased last year by the largest margin in a decade, the NHS has revealed.
Kids aged one who had completed the recommended immunisation courses fell to 93.6% in 2015-16, which was a drop of 1.1% in three years.
“The news today that overall vaccination rates in England have again decreased is extremely worrying,” said Professor Peter Openshaw, president of the British Society for Immunology, according to The Telegraph.
“Vaccines are amongst the simplest and most cost-effective public health measures that we have and continue to save countless lives.”
There was reportedly an increase in the take-up of vaccinations prior to 2011, but in the past five years this has reversed.
The number of children who had received their first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) decreased to 91.9% in 2015-16, from 92.7% in 2012-13.
Dr Helen Bedford, immunisation expert at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health told The Huffington Post UK: “It is disappointing that the latest published figures show that the uptake of childhood immunisations appears to have fallen. However, as these decreases are very small, overall rates remain high.
“There are several possible reasons why uptake has fallen. Recent changes to the NHS mean that the quality of data on immunisation may have been affected and there is certainly great pressure on frontline services which deliver childhood immunisation.
“It is unfortunate that the uptake of MMR has declined over the past two years although by less than 1%. This year there have been more cases of measles (234 cases in the first six months this year, compared with 91 for the whole of last year) and, though these have mainly affected older adolescents and young adults, an infant, too young to be immunised died earlier this year.
“This highlights the importance of ensuring that everyone is offered two2 doses of MMR, a highly safe and effective vaccine.”
In April 2016, parents were urged to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) as it was been revealed approximately 24,000 kids missed out on being immunised in 2015.
At the time, Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE said: “Back in the days before a vaccine was available, hundreds of thousands caught measles and around a hundred people died each year.
“But now, the whole community benefits from the ‘herd immunity’ that the safe and effective MMR offers.”
Parents choose not to vaccinate their children for various reasons.
In 2011, an Associated Press report stated parents opted out of vaccine requirements for “medical, religious or personal belief exemptions”.
“Reasons behind the personal belief exemptions include fears about vaccine side effects (many worry about connections between vaccines and autism) to wanting to be able to decide exactly which vaccines are given to their child,” the report stated.
In a blog on The Huffington Post, a paediatrician revealed the top seven reasons parents told her they didn’t want to vaccinate their children.
These were: “The illnesses are rare; the illnesses aren’t that bad; vaccines cause autism; vaccines have side effects; the preservatives in vaccines are dangerous; it’s a ‘conspiracy’; and not being able to trust a doctor.”
This has caused a conflict between parents who do vaccinate their children due to the nature of “herd immunity” as explained by Dr Ramsay.
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