RCGP urges higher childhood vaccination uptake

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the latest campaign from UKHSA and NHS England urging parents to ensure their children catch up on missed vaccinations. Professor Hawthorne said:

“Recent outbreaks of measles, as highlighted by the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre’s own data, shows that engagement with the Childhood Vaccination Programme, one of the great successes of the NHS, has unfortunately decreased, and has left us vulnerable to the spread of potentially life-changing conditions, such as measles. Maintaining high vaccination rates is a top priority for GPs and our teams – and this campaign is timely and vital.

“Vaccinations can only reduce the transmission of disease if enough people have them. As a society, we mustn't become complacent. We need to restore momentum to the childhood vaccination programme, including MMR.

“GPs have great links in local communities, and trusted relationships with our patients. We've seen time and time again how instrumental general practice is in the success of vaccination programmes. We have conversations with patients to make sure they understand the importance, effectiveness and safety of vaccinations, such as MMR, and allay any concerns they may have. Many practices, particularly in areas with lower uptake rates, already do a huge amount of outreach work. It is vital that general practice has sufficient resources and time to get out in the community and have these conversations.

“Our vaccine programmes protect millions of us from potentially life-changing, sometimes deadly, conditions and we need to ensure public awareness of their importance and necessity. We once achieved the eradication of measles – unfortunately no longer the case - and we can’t let our vaccination efforts slip or these really serious diseases resurge. We would urge all parents to check their children's vaccinations are up-to-date, and if they're not, to make an appointment as soon as possible.”

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.