Investigation: Pre-school vaccination programmes – Transcript

Title: Ashley McDougall, Director, National Audit Office

Date: 25 October 2019

Our investigation, published today, is about pre-school vaccinations. There are about seven different types of vaccinations that children have before they go to school, and we’ve just looked at how they’re being administrated and what’s happening.

Preschool vaccination rates have been falling for about the last 5 or 6 years across nearly all the vaccinations. This matters because without vaccinations achieving a certain level you cannot get herd immunity which protects adults and children from getting quite serious infections and diseases, for example, polio or measles or meningitis.

There’s no single cause for the decline in uptake but the government have identified a few factors, they’re not sure which are most important or having the greatest impact. The factors are how well GPs invite patients - children, parents - to come and have the vaccines, whether the children and parents can get appointments for those vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy which is where some people are not sure whether they want to vaccine or whether they want their children to have these, and finally the fragmentation of the vaccinations system since 2012 and 2013 when the NHS was reorganised.

The government have a number of plans to try and improve the situation. One of the things they’re going to do is to have a new way of commissioning vaccination programmes from GPs. They already have a new programme for catch up vaccinations for children ages 10 – 11 for measles the MMR vaccine, and this autumn they’re going to bring forward another vaccination strategy.

For more information read our report online.