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First NICE guidance on immunisation

Immunisation plays a vital role in keeping children and young people healthy, by providing protection against common infections that can have devastating effects - and even cause death.

Nevertheless, there is still widespread variation in the number of children and young people who have been immunised against a range of different diseases.

In Britain, for example, an estimated 3 million children and young people aged 18 months to 18 years may have missed either their first or their second MMR vaccination. This means that as many as one child in four is unimmunised or only partially immunised against measles, mumps and rubella.

The number of cases of measles has been rising year on year since 2005. It is a serious illness that can lead to complications like pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis.

‘Reducing differences in the uptake of immunisations' is the first NICE guidance on immunisation.

It offers practical advice on how to increase the number of children and young people who are up-to-date with their vaccinations for a range of diseases. It supports existing national policy and guidance such as the Department of Health's ‘Green book' and information available on the NHS immunisation website (www.immunisation.nhs.uk),

The recommendations apply to all vaccinations. There is also specific advice in relation to babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B-positive. These babies are at particular risk of infection and serious illness.

“Evidence shows that certain groups of children and young people are at particular risk of not being fully immunised,” explains Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE. “These include looked after children, those with physical or learning disabilities, those from non-English speaking families, mobile populations, some minority ethnic groups and those from disadvantaged communities.

“The new guidance emphasises the importance of providing tailored support, including accurate, up-to-date information in a variety of formats.”

For details go to www.nice.org.uk/PH21

Issued: 12 October 2010

This page was last updated: 20 April 2010

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.