In the UK we are lucky to have a very successful immunisation programme which means that very few of the diseases that were commonplace and prevalent years ago are rarely now seen. The message is vaccines work.
The Thames Valley Immunisation Uptake project, (launched last summer to help to increase uptake of immunisations among children from 0 to 5 years in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire), is calling on parents of the 0-5’s across the Thames Valley area to make sure their children have timely vaccinations to help protect their children’s health, as part of European Immunisation Week (24 – 31 April).
The majority of
children in Thames Valley receive vaccinations at the correct age. However, we
strongly encourage parents to check their ‘red books‘(personal child health
record), to make sure their child’s vaccinations are up to date. If not, they
can contact their GP to make an appointment. Parents can be confident that the free
vaccines offered are safe. Immunisations help prevent serious illnesses and
The Thames Valley Improving Immunisation Uptake (IIU) team was launched in July 2018 to reduce variation of immunisation uptake in children aged 0-5 years, across the Thames Valley. The project is funded by NHS England and managed by SCW Child Health Information Services (SCW CHIS).
The IIU team have
been working with 214 GP surgeries, other health professionals and parents to
increase uptake of childhood immunisations. Another aspect of the service is to
promote child immunisations at GP, practice nurse and health visitor training
The project has included a focus on under-served communities, who have not had their children immunised and increasing uptake across areas with particularly low immunisation coverage.
The team are
offering GP surgeries direct clinical support to ensure they have systems in
place to deliver an efficient and effective immunisation programme that is
accessible to parents. There are many factors that can make a difference to
children being vaccinated such as:
- parents receiving timely and accurate invitation letters
being able to promptly access convenient appointments
ensuring families have access to reputable sources of information, so that they can make an informed choice about getting their child vaccinated.
The results of the project so far have been very encouraging with a significant reduction in variation of immunisation uptake across the Thames Valley. At the start of the project, GP practice uptake was between 45% to 93% and currently it is 76% to 99.1%. This shows that variation has reduced from 48% at the outset of the project to 22%, which is fantastic news.