This site is intended for health professionals only

More MMR vaccinations needed: NICE

A greater number of young people need vaccinating against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) if the UK is to achieve herd immunity, according to new guidance.

Uptake of some vaccines for under-19s is below expectations, and measles outbreaks have become more common because the UK does not have a 95% immunisation rate.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidance to improve this take-up and ensure GP practices and primary care trusts systematically record and transfer vaccination information in patient records to keep children up-to-date with booster jabs.

Professor Mike Kelly, NICE's public health excellence centre director, said: "The guidance makes recommendations applying to all vaccinations and recommendations about the vaccination programme for babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B-positive specifically.

"These babies are at risk of infection and serious illness, and implementing a follow-up vaccination programme to help prevent hepatitis B infection will not only have positive health benefits for the child, but save the NHS money in the future."

Other recommendations to increase vaccinations included improving accessibility to services, such as introducing walk-in clinics, mobile services, extended opening hours and longer appointment times.

Copyright © Press Association 2009