New government data has shown a substantial decrease in the number of children receiving routine childhood immunisations in 2020 compared to 2019.
Since April 2020, fewer infants have completed the full course of vital vaccines by the time they reach 6 months of age, and fewer children have received MMR vaccines by 18 months of age, compared to the previous year.
The report suggests that the decrease in vaccination may be associated with COVID-19 messaging about staying home initially overwhelming the messaging that the routine immunisation programme remained open, operating as usual.
Additionally, anecdotal information suggests closures and changes to GP practices to cope with COVID have had a knock on affect as surgeries try to catch up with missed appointments.
Rob Dawson, Director of Support at Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “We are urging parents who missed routine vaccination appointments to catch up as quickly as possible to protect their children from life-threatening infections such as meningitis, polio, whooping cough, pneumonia and measles.”