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Fall in the number of Scottish children being vaccinated

The percentage of children being immunised fell across most types of vaccines recommended for kids under six.

The percentage of children being immunised in Scotland is falling, new figures show (David Cheskin/PA)
The percentage of children being immunised in Scotland is falling, new figures show (David Cheskin/PA)

Childhood immunisation is dropping across Scotland, according to official figures.

Vaccination rates for dropped in all-but-three of the 17 immunisation courses and boosters for children under the age of six.

For children at 12 months of age in Scotland, uptake of all routine immunisations – apart from rotavirus – remained above 95% in 2018, although rates have decreased compared with 2017.

The booster for a 4-in-1 vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio, showed the biggest drop between 2017 and 2018, with the percentage of children receiving it falling from 92.7% to 91.6%.

This was followed by the second dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), which fell by 1%.

However, uptake of one dose of the MMR vaccine for children under six was 96.6% in 2018, meeting the national target of 95% for the 10th year in a row.

Uptake of the complete two-dose course of rotavirus vaccine by 12 months of age was 92.8% in 2018, a decrease from 93.4% in 2017. The oral vaccine protects against an infection which causes severe diarrhoea.

The NHS figures also found that children from deprived areas were less likely to have the vaccinations than children from less-deprived areas.

Uptake of the first dose of the MMR vaccine in children up to five continues to exceed the 95% target and as a result, there is no evidence of significant transmission of measles in Scotland Scottish Government

The European region of the World Health Organization recommends that at least 95% of children are immunised against diseases preventable by immunisation and targeted for elimination or control. These include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), measles, mumps and rubella.

Commenting on the findings, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Childhood immunisation rates across Scotland remain very high.

“This reflects both the hard work and commitment of those working in the NHS and the recognition of the benefits of vaccination.

“Uptake of the first dose of the MMR vaccine for children up to five continues to exceed the 95% target and as a result, there is no evidence of significant transmission of measles in Scotland among infants or children in primary or secondary school.

“Instances of rotavirus have also dramatically decreased in both infants and the wider community since we made it part of the routine childhood schedule in July 2013.”

Denying your children access to life-saving vaccines is irresponsible, ill-informed and dangerous Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: “It is seriously concerning news that less children are being vaccinated.

“Regrettably social media pseudoscience has clearly had some influence.

“Denying your children access to life-saving vaccines is irresponsible, ill-informed and dangerous.

“The government must do all they can to reverse this worrying trend.”

PA

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