Babies missing out on life-saving vaccines in Sheffield

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Dozens of babies are missing out on potentially life-saving jabs in Sheffield, with vaccine uptake remaining below the level the World Health Organisation says is needed.

The WHO recommends at least 95 per cent of newborns should get the six-in-one jab, which protects against six serious infections including polio, whooping cough and diphtheria.

But 93.6 per cent of infants born in Sheffield who had their first birthday between January and March have been vaccinated, according to Public Health England data.

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This means 93 babies missed out, although it is not recommended for those with allergies to the vaccine.

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However, immunisation rates have not changed from the previous quarter, when the same proportion of babies were vaccinated.

Across England, vaccination rates stood at 92.7 per cent between January and March 2020.

Dr Doug Brown, the group's chief executive, said: "We must do better to protect our children. Improving vaccine uptake is a complex issue, but one that we can solve.

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"Initiatives such as strengthening the role of immunisation co-ordinators, ensuring services are accessible and widening services to go out into communities are all strategies that we know work.

“Additionally, engaging with parents to answer their questions and provide accurate information on vaccines is key to success.”

He added that he hopes the Government's long-awaited vaccine strategy, which was first announced last summer but is yet to be published, will tackle many of these issues.

In Yorkshire and The Humber, the uptake was 93.9 per cent – the fourth highest region in England. But the Department of Health and Social Care said some people may have felt unsafe taking their baby for their jabs during the coronavirus crisis, and that it is working to address this.

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A spokeswoman said: “Every child must be vaccinated against dangerous and potentially fatal diseases and it’s vital that vaccinations are up-to-date.”

NHS Public Health was approached for a comment.

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