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Fall in the number of Scottish children being vaccinated

Vaccination rates for dropped in all but three of the 17 immunisation courses for young children.

Immunisation: Fears social media could be influencing parents (file pic). Freepik

Childhood immunisation is dropping across Scotland, according to official figures.

Vaccination rates for dropped in all but three of the 17 immunisation courses and boosters for children under the age of six.

For children at 12 months of age in Scotland, uptake of all routine immunisations – apart from rotavirus – remained above 95% in 2018, although rates have decreased compared with 2017.

The booster for a 4-in-1 vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio, showed the biggest drop between 2017 and 2018, with the percentage of children receiving it falling from 92.7% to 91.6%.

This was followed by the second dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), which fell by 1%.

However, uptake of one dose of the MMR vaccine for children under six was 96.6% in 2018, meeting the national target of 95% for the tenth year in a row.

The NHS figures also found that children from deprived areas were less likely to have the vaccinations than children from less-deprived areas.

The European region of the World Health Organization recommends that at least 95% of children are immunised against diseases preventable by immunisation and targeted for elimination or control. These include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), measles, mumps and rubella.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP believes anti-vaccination posts on social media must take some of the blame for the figures.

He said: “It is seriously concerning news that less children are being vaccinated.

“Regrettably social media pseudoscience has clearly had some influence.

“Denying your children access to life-saving vaccines is irresponsible, ill-informed and dangerous.

“The government must do all they can to reverse this worrying trend.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Childhood immunisation rates across Scotland remain very high.

“This reflects both the hard work and commitment of those working in the NHS and the recognition of the benefits of vaccination.”

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