As hundreds of thousands of children are preparing to start primary school in the next few weeks, the Public Health England (PHE) on Monday warned that around one in seven among the five-year-olds are not immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).
The statistics, revealed as part of PHE’s Value of Vaccines campaign, shows over 30,000 five-year-olds without having their first dose of MMR, leaving them significantly more at risk compared to the fully vaccinated children.
Around 90,000 or one in seven five-year-olds in England have not received their second MMR dose and almost half of these children are residing in London itself.
Around 100,000 five-year-olds may still need their 4-in-1 pre-school booster that protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio, the data further adds.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “It’s a real concern that so many young children – as many as a quarter of a reception class in some areas – could be starting school without the full protection that the NHS childhood immunisation programme offers for free.”
“The vast majority of those affected are not fully immunised and vaccine-preventable diseases spread more easily in schools. It’s crucial that children have maximum protection as they begin to mix with other children at the start of their school journey.”
PHE asked parents to check their child’s Red Book to ensure the children are up-to-date with scheduled immunisations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday ordered urgent action to improve vaccination uptake after more than 230 cases of measles were reported in the UK during first quarter of 2019.