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Number of young children vaccinated falls for third year

The number of young children receiving routine childhood vaccinations has fallen for the third year in a row, according to figures published today.

The NHS Digital childhood immunisation statistics for 2015/16 show that national coverage fell slightly for most routine childhood vaccinations for children under two.

Last year, 93.6% of children completed primary immunisation courses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenza type b by their first birthday, down from 94.2% the year before (and 92.3% in 2013/14).

And just 91.9% of children received the first dose of the MMR vaccine by their second birthday, down from 92.3% in 2014-15 and 92.7% in 2013-14. But by their fifth birthday, 94.8% of children had the first MMR jab – the highest it has ever been.

Only 30% of four-year-olds were vaccinated against seasonal flu, 35.4% of two-year-olds and 37.7% of three-year-olds, despite a Government push for children to receive the vaccine.

WHO’s target is 95% coverage for key immunisations.

This comes after NICE set out plans for GPs to drive up ‘unacceptable’ child vaccination rates as they said only a quarter of local authorities meet the WHO target of 95% uptake.