Vaccine uptake in Wigan is bucking the national trend

More children in Wigan are having vaccinations than in other areas
More children in Wigan are having vaccinations than in other areas

More children in Wigan are being vaccinated against a host of illnesses than in other parts of the country, new figures reveal.

The borough’s vaccination rates were among the highest in the North West and surpassed the national figure for most of the jabs.

NHS Digital has published the latest data for routine vaccination coverage between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019 in a new report co-authored by Public Health England.

It reveals 3,466 children - 95.2 per cent of Wigan youngsters - received the DTaP/IPV/Hib injection protecting against diptheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough and haemophilus influenzae type B - before their first birthday.

This compared to 92.1 per cent of children in England and 92.6 per cent in the North West.

Wigan also performed well for three other routine jabs given before the child’s first birthday, which provide protection against meningococcal group B, rotavirus gastroenteritis and pneumococcal.

This is despite quite significant take-up dips in the past and the campaign group Jabs, which voices concerns over inoculation side-effects, having been founded in the borough by Golborne mum Jackie Fletcher whose own son was left disabled by the MMR jab.

By their second birthday, 3,550 Wigan children - 97.2 per cent - had received the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination, compared to 94.2 per cent in England and 94.5 per cent in the North West.

Take-up rates for booster jabs for the three other infections were also well above national figures.

A total of 3,480 children - 95.3 per cent - had the first dose of the MMR jab, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, by their second birthday.

This compared to 90.3 per cent of children nationally and 92.4 per cent in the North West.

A total of 3,716 Wigan youngsters - 97.3 per cent - had the DTaP/IPV/Hib by their fifth birthday, above 95.0 per cent in England and 95.1 per cent in the North West.

For the MMR jab, 96.5 per cent - 3,688 youngsters - had received the first dose of MMR by this age, while 3,474 - 90.9 per cent - had both the first and second dose. This compared to 94.5 and 86.4 per cent nationally and 95.3 and 88.9 per cent in the region.

The only area where Wigan lagged slightly behind the national figures was for the flu jab, but it did perform well compared to other towns in the North West.

Between September 1 and February 28, 43 per cent of all Wigan two-year-olds had been vaccinated, compared to 43.8 per cent nationally and 41.8 per cent in the North West.

At three years old, this rose to 45.9 per cent in both Wigan and England and 45.1 per cent in the region.

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director of public health, said: “I’m delighted that the updated published national figures on childhood immunisation uptake show that Wigan borough continues to buck the trend and outperform both England and the North West when it comes to children being given the recommended immunisations against a whole range of serious diseases including polio, diptheria, measles and meningococcal meningitis.

“This is a great testament to the hard of work of all our colleagues in primary care, maternity services, health visiting, school nurses and schools and nurseries and their trusted and positive relationships with parents and families.

“I’d like to thank all those who have made sure their child is protected so that these serious illnesses continue to be thankfully rare.

“It’s also a timely reminder that we are now beginning our annual flu vaccination programme and that children under five will have already started to be invited for their annual flu vaccination, so I’d encourage all parents to take up the offer and help your children to stay flu free this winter.”