Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said:
“Everyone should be concerned about falling vaccination rates in the UK. This NAO report on vaccinations highlights some of the system challenges health professionals are struggling with that can have a real impact on uptake rates, and everything must be done to make it as easy for them as possible to improve vaccine access.
“A well-functioning health system is crucial to ensure vaccination rates improve. For example, in response to low uptake of a meningitis vaccine for teenagers, MRF campaigned successfully on issues such as switching on opportunistic alerts for GPs that flag eligible patients, identifying errors in the GP contract regarding age groups eligible for the vaccine and we introduced an eligibility checker to help people find out if they are entitled to the vaccine. Efforts such as these to provide timely and accurate information to GP practices are vital to improving uptake of vaccines.
“Health service providers need to recognise that until a few years ago the UK had achieved good immunisation rates for most vaccines and ask what’s changed. It is entirely right that the government takes falling vaccine uptake rates very seriously. It is equally important it considers all the factors influencing this into account when reaching its conclusions on what to do about it.”