Childhood vaccine

Government to launch vaccine drive as measles cases rise

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is launching a new marketing campaign to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated across England.

The campaign comes as the re-emergence of measles continues, with another 69 confirmed cases in the last week alone – this brings the total number of lab-confirmed instances of measles to 650 since the start of October 2023.

This includes 183 since 29 January 2024; the highest proportion of reported cases during the last four weeks have been in the west midlands (43%), followed by the north west (19%), and then London (14%).

The news also comes against the backdrop of a long-term drop in childhood vaccination. This includes the measles vaccine, as well as for other conditions like whooping cough, polio, meningitis, and diphtheria.

Maria Caulfield comment

To combat the decline, the government is coordinating its campaign with the NHS, specifically targeting areas of low uptake.

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, UKHSA’s chief executive, is in the north west today to launch the campaign. She will visit areas in Manchester and Liverpool which have some of the lowest uptake levels in the country.

“We need an urgent reversal of the decline in the uptake of childhood vaccinations to protect our communities,” said Prof Harries.

She added: “Unless uptake improves we will start to see the diseases that these vaccines protect against re-emerging and causing more serious illness.”

The campaign will launch on 4 March through a range of mediums including TV, radio, online, and social media.

A higher concentration of advertising will be seen in the west midlands, north west, and London due to their pockets of low uptake.

The UKHSA developed the campaign materials in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Liverpool City Council, NHS North West, and NHS Greater Manchester.

Image credit: iStock

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