This page is designed to support health and care professionals in promoting take-up of vaccinations across our population and diverse communities in south east London’s six boroughs. You can also signpost people to our public website page on children’s immunisations.
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Update: July 2023
A new NHSE campaign is underway focused on getting children up to date with MMR and polio routine vaccinations. For children aged under five, take-up rates are below 75% for both in London. The NHS is contacting parents and carers directly to encourage ‘catch-up’ vaccinations at GP surgeries. Further details of the public-facing campaign are on our public website.
The NHS is also inviting children under 5 (6 months to 4 years) who are in a clinical risk group for a COVID-19 vaccination. Check the JCVI advice for more information.
Vaccines and when children should have them
Our interactive online timeline shows when children are due their routine vaccinations. We have produced a handy credit card-sized version and we can send you large numbers of these, free of charge.
Key information for parents/carers:
The MenB vaccine will protect your baby against infection by meningococcal group B bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for about 9 in every 10 meningococcal infections in young children. Meningococcal infections can be very serious, causing meningitis and sepsis. This can lead to severe brain damage, amputations and, sometimes, death. The MenB vaccine is offered as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. It’s given to babies at:
Further information for healthcare professionals on the Meningococcal B vaccine: Meningococcal B: vaccine information for healthcare professionals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Measles, mumps and rubella and the MMR vaccine
The MMR vaccine consistently has one of the lowest take up rates of all childhood immunisations. London MMR immunisation rates lag behind the national average.
There is much disparity across London too, with uptake MMR2 at 5 years varying from 58% to 87% uptake across the 32 boroughs, yet 95% vaccine coverage is needed for effective herd immunity.
Key information on MMR messages to give to parents and use on your websites and other channels:
- If your child has missed any of their MMR vaccinations, it’s never too late to catch up – check your child’s Red Book, if they have one. If you don’t have a Red Book, contact your GP surgery to find out if they are fully vaccinated. Children not registered with a GP can still get vaccinations, and you should contact a local GP surgery.
- The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine. It protects against three serious illnesses (measles, mumps and rubella). These are highly infectious conditions and can easily spread between unvaccinated people.
- The MMR vaccine is given in two doses – the first at one year old, the second at 18 months old to ensure they get the best protection as early as possible.
Jump to FAQs to support parent/carer conversations on MMR
Polio and the polio vaccination
There have been no confirmed cases of paralysis due to polio caught in the UK since 1984. Some type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2) was found in sewage in London in early 2022. A subsequent polio vaccination programme provided a booster for children up to date with their routine vaccinations, and brought others up to date.
The risk of getting polio remains extremely low. Our focus is on ensuring all children are up to date with the NHS routine vaccines schedule, of which polio is an important part.
For more info on polio go to Polio vaccination – NHS South East London and Polio – NHS.
Jump to FAQs to support parent/carer conversations on polio
Children with uncertain or incomplete vaccination status
UKHSA has produced this useful guidance for when children’s vaccination status is unknown, or incomplete.
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is a two-dose course, offered to boys and girls in years 8 and 9 (aged 12-13) and protects against genital warts and HPV related cancers such as cervical cancer and cancers of the head and neck.
Further information and guidance for healthcare professionals on HPV vaccination: HPV vaccination: guidance for healthcare practitioners – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine is offered to young people aged 13 to 15 (year 9 and 10) and protects against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y. It’s also important for students going to university or college for the first time. This is because older teenagers and new students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their nose and throat.
Further information and guidance for healthcare professionals on MenACWY vaccination: MenACWY programme: information for healthcare professionals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The 3-in-1 teenage booster is offered to young people in year 9 (age 14) and boosts protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio.
Further information and guidance for healthcare professionals on the tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations for children:
Jump to FAQs to support parent/carer conversations on school-aged vaccines