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Question for Department of Health

UIN 199995, tabled on 10 June 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what target vaccination rates are set for each public-funded vaccination programme; what changes have been made to those rates in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

17 June 2014

Our objective is to achieve the highest possible uptake rates for all vaccinations in the national immunisation programme. The Department and NHS England, advised by Public Health England, have produced a series of service specifications for the commissioning of immunisation services. These generally state that local services must ensure that they maintain and improve immunisation uptake with the aspiration of 100% of relevant individuals being offered immunisation.

We also recognise and support the work of international organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) on optimising vaccine uptake, and adopt its recommendations where they are based on firm scientific evidence and are appropriate to United Kingdom conditions. Since 1996 the European Region of the WHO has recommended that, on a national basis, at least 95% of children are immunised against diseases preventable by immunisation and targeted for elimination or control (specifically, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), measles, mumps and rubella).

There are also vaccine uptake aspirations relating to influenza vaccination. Since 2008, the objective of the immunisation programme has been to achieve at least 75% uptake among the population aged 65 and over (before 2008 it was 70%). Since the winter of 2013-14, this 75% figure has also applied to those aged under 65 years of age with a clinical condition (previously 70% in 2012-13 and 60% in 2011-12). In 2013-14, any National Health Service trust that was eligible for a share of £250 million Accident & Emergency funding for 2014-15 was asked to ensure that at least 75% of its own staff were vaccinated against influenza.