A World Health Organization vaccination target for five childhood diseases has been met for the tenth consecutive year in England.
A new report by NHS Digital and Public Health England reveals that at least 95% of children have received the recommended combined vaccine for diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, polio and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) by the age of 5.
The Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics report shows that the 95% target has been met every year since 2011–12, with a vaccination level of 95.2% recorded for the previous two years (2020–21 and 2019–20).
The highest vaccine rate is in the North East where 97.2% of children had received the five recommended vaccines by the age of 5. London was the only region not to reach the target, with a 91.2% vaccine rate for five-year-olds in 2020–21.
The 95% target for five-year-olds receiving the first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was also achieved in every region in England apart from London and the West Midlands in 2020-21.
The overall rate across England for the first dose of the MMR vaccine was at 94.3%, compared to 94.5% in 2019–20.
Chris Roebuck, NHS Digital’s Chief Statistician, said: ‘We publish these statistics to help inform the development and evaluation of government policy on immunisation.
‘The annual report is also used to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine programme at a local, regional and national level.’
The Childhood Vaccinations Coverage Statistics report provides statistics on routine childhood vaccinations up to the age of 5 and measures the rate of vaccine coverage at ages 1, 2, and 5.
The first dose of the vaccine for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and Hib is recommended when babies are eight weeks old and is given in a single jab, followed by second and third doses at four-week intervals.
For children born on or after 1 August 2017, the 5-in-1 (pentavalent) vaccine was replaced with a 6-in-1 (hexavalent) vaccine, which also provides protection against hepatitis B. In 2020–21, 92.0% of children had received all three doses by the age of one, compared to 92.6% in 2019-20.
The first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is usually given at the age of one, with a second dose between the ages of three and five. In 2020-21, 90.3% of children had received their first dose by the age of two, compared to 90.6% in 2019–20.
The report also includes statistics on vaccine coverage rates for pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, meningitis B and flu.
Of the 13 comparable measures for vaccine coverage included in the report, two had increased by up to 0.3%, two had stayed the same and nine had decreased by up to 0.5% compared to 2019–20.
The Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics report for 2020–21 is available on the NHS Digital website.