- Vaccination coverage in Wakefield is above the national average
- Coverage varies between individual vaccinations
- The more central Wakefield wards have lower vaccine coverage than the rest of the district
In the first few years of life, babies are given a number of vaccinations to help protect them against potentially life-threatening diseases. Ensuring that as many eligible children are vaccinated is important in maintaining a healthy population. At least 90% of a population need to be immunised to stop a disease spreading, and if 95% are immune it is possible to eliminate the disease.
Vaccines work by making the body produce antibodies to fight disease, without actually infecting a person with the disease. This means that if the body comes into contact with the disease in the future, their immune system will recognize it and quickly produce the relevant antibodies to fight the infection.
The standard vaccination schedule for children under 5 includes the following vaccines:
The 6-in-1 (previously 5-in-1) vaccine protects children against polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B), tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis). This vaccine is given to babies at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks old.
The MMR vaccine protects children against measles, mumps and rubella. These are highly infectious conditions that can have serious and potentially fatal complications, and can also lead to complications in pregnancy. The vaccine is given to babies at 12 months old, then a booster when the child is 3 years and 4 months old. In the past 18 months, there have been a number of recent outbreaks of measles across the West Yorkshire region. It is therefore increasingly important that the Wakefield population is adequately protected in case of further outbreaks.
The rotavirus vaccine protects against rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhea and sickness. It is given as two doses for babies aged 8 and 12 weeks.
The PCV (pneumococcal) vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections, including those that can lead to pneumonia and meningitis. The complications of pneumococcal infections can be fatal or cause permanent brain damage. Babies receive 3 doses of pneumococcal vaccine at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year old.
The Hib/MenC (Haemophilus influenzae type b and meningitis C) vaccination is given as a single injection to 1 year old babies. This boosts their existing coverage against Hib (given as part of the 6-in-1) and offers additional protection against meningitis C. Both of these infections can be fatal, and can potentially cause septicaemia and meningitis.
What do things look like locally?
In Wakefield, vaccination rates are typically above the national average. However there are differences between electoral wards, deprivation deciles and GP practice areas, with not all areas meeting 95% coverage targets.
Eligibility cohorts have been calculated based on the financial year a child became eligible for each vaccination. Eligibility cohorts for MMR have been calculated in two different ways; the first to indicate the vaccination status in the year of eligibility and the second in line with national guidance. For dose 1, the year of eligibility is the year in which the child turned 12 months old and for national guidance, this is the year the child turned 2 years old. For dose 2, the eligibility is when the child turned 3 years and 4 months old .
Vaccination rates differ between different geographical areas, ethnic groups, nationalities and deprivation levels. As vaccination schedules can differ between countries, vaccination rates among new migrant groups can be much lower than the general population. Some vulnerable groups, such as travellers, children with long term health conditions or disabilities, and families facing homelessness also have lower vaccination rates than the general population. Please see the vulnerable groups pages for more information specific to these groups.
Immunisations for children under 5 years of age are provided exclusively by GP practices. The local health visiting service provides information and advice around vaccination to parents after the birth of their child.