Coverage declines in 9/12 of routine child vaccinations

Figures published today show that coverage declined for nine of the 12 routine vaccinations measured at age 12 months, 24 months or five years in 2017-18 in England compared to the previous year. It increased in one vaccine and remained at the same level in two.

Coverage for the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine for children reaching their second birthday fell to 91.2 per cent in England in 2017-18 compared to 91.6 per cent in 2016-17, according to the NHS Digital report, Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics.

This is the fourth consecutive year that MMR coverage has decreased. The World Health Organisation (WHO) target is 95 per cent. Coverage for this vaccine fell in six of the nine English regions.

The North East had the highest level of coverage at 94.5 per cent (down from 94.9 per cent in 2016-17). London had the lowest level of coverage at 85.1 per cent (unchanged from 2016-17).

England-wide MMR coverage for children reaching their fifth birthday fell from 95.0% in 2016-17 to 94.9% in 2017-18.

The report shows coverage for the 5-in-1 vaccine at 12 months has fallen from 94.7 per cent in 2012-13 to 93.1 per cent in 2017-18. It is the fifth successive year coverage for the vaccine for diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, polio and Hib disease has fallen in children aged 12 months.

Of the nine English regions, the North East (95.5 per cent) and the South West (95 per cent) reached the target of 95 per cent coverage for the 5-in-1 vaccine at 12 months.
The Rotavirus vaccine was the only one that had an increase in coverage, from 89.6 per cent in 2016-17 to 90.1 per cent in 2017-18.

This year’s report is the first where figures for the meningitis B vaccine (Meningococcal group B, referred to as the MenB vaccine) are included as a national statistic, having been published as experimental statistics in last year’s report.6 These figures show that national coverage for this vaccine was 92.5 per cent. Eight out of nine regions achieved coverage above 90 per cent.

For all 13 routine vaccinations for which this report provides figures, the North East had the highest coverage and London had the lowest.