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Projected service use

Background papers: children :: Immunisations and vaccinations [Update in progress] :: Projected service use

The number of births to mothers resident in Medway has increased by 8.6% over the past 5 years from 3,257 in 2006 to 3,538 in 2010. Although it is projected that the number of women of child bearing age will fall slightly over the next 5 to 10 years, the overall number of births and therefore children requiring vaccination, may continue to increase if women decide to have larger families. The latter may be affected by the economic situation and also the degree of inward migration as the number of live births per 1,000 females of childbearing age for UK born women in 2010 was 1.88 compared to 2.45 for non-UK born women.[1]

Several new vaccines have become available in the past 10 years and it is quite likely that more will become available in years to come. At least 2 new vaccines (against Meningitis B and Staphylococcus Aureas) are being clinically trialled. Also there are vaccines licensed in the UK which are not included in the UK schedule but are within those of other countries e.g. Varicella (chickenpox) and Rotavirus which may in the future be added to the UK schedule.

High uptake rates in Medway should not lead to complacency — new parents need to be made aware of the benefits of vaccination as do others at risk. MMR uptake rates dropped in the UK from 1998 as a result of a paper published in The Lancet asserting a link between the vaccine and autism and cases of measles subsequently increased. Although the theory was disproved by other international studies and the co–authors of the 1998 paper issued a retraction in 2004, it took several years for uptake rates to increase again. This has resulted in a cohort of children now approaching their teens who are not immune to measles which is of concern as the case — fatality ratio for measles is high in children under 1 year, lower in children aged 1–9 years and then rises again in teenagers and adults. Measles outbreaks have occurred in the UK in recent years and in 2011 there were several in European countries such as France which may be holiday or study destinations for these unvaccinated young people.

Migrants make up an increasing proportion of the UK populations. In 2001 it was estimated that 8% of the total UK population were born abroad by 2010 the figure was closer to 12%.[2] The majority of long term migrants are young people with plans to study or work. Some of these will have children and be less aware of the need for vaccination in childhood due to language or cultural issues. The HPA launched the on-line Migrant Health Guide in 2011 to assist primary care practitioners caring for people who have come to live in the UK from aboard and this gives helpful information on vaccination of those who have not been immunised according to the UK schedule.


[1]   Office for National Statistics. Births in England and Wales by parent's country of birth, 2010 2011;
[2]   Health Protection Agency. Migrant Health: Infectious diseases in non-UK born populations in the UK: An update to the baseline report 2011 2011; Health Protection Agency. .