Medics vaccinate over 500 children in move to contain measles outbreak

Over 500 children vaccinated under immunisation programme. Photograph: Creative Commons.

Hackney medics have moved to address a recent outbreak of measles in the borough with a programme of vaccinations which has seen 500 children immunised against the disease.

The programme is seeking to address concerns over low vaccination figures for north-east Hackney, against a background of declining figures for innoculations across the borough generally.

There were 38 confirmed cases of measles in Hackney as at 19 November.

Healthwatch Hackney director Jon Williams said: ‘The local measles outbreak is extremely worrying.

“We are deeply concerned children in the borough continue to be at risk of this devastating disease because of persistently low immunisation rates.

“We are confident that the local health system is working flat out to get people vaccinated.

“City and Hackney needs funds to develop a bespoke programme to tackle poor uptake in our communities and effectively protect local children.

“Vaccination works and is safe. Meanwhile we urge parents to contact their GP for advice if you think your child is unvaccinated.”

An NHS England report blamed a low uptake in London generally on a variety of factors, including the city’s increasing birth rate and high population mobility, inconsistent patient reminder systems, and increasingly competing priorities for GPs.

So-called ‘herd immunity’ is achieved at a vaccination uptake rate of 95 per cent. However, in Hackney uptake for the infants is considerably lower than the rest of London – 75.6 per cent for 2017/18 compared to 89.2 per cent for London, with a higher rate for 2-year-olds, indicating a pattern of late vaccinations, according to the report.

Figures for the north-east of the borough are particularly low, with Stamford Hill Group Practice, Spring Hill Practice and Cranwich Road Surgery performance rates under 60 per cent for giving the MMR vaccine for 2-year-olds.

A City & Hackney clinical commissioning group spokesperson said: “Previous vaccination figures for north-east Hackney are being addressed with an effective immunisation programme which has seen over 500 children being vaccinated in the last three weeks.

“City and Hackney CCG have funded a local outbreak response. We are continuing to work with NHSE to look at how this can be supported now and in the future.”

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