Polio outbreak is ‘jolt’ needed to tackle falling child vaccine uptake ‘before it’s too late’, expert warns

‘There has been a general downward trend in coverage in most childhood vaccines over the past 5-10 years,’ say scientific advisers to the government

<p>A young boy receives a immunisation jab at a health centre in Glasgow</p>

A young boy receives a immunisation jab at a health centre in Glasgow

The UK polio outbreak should be the “jolt” that is needed to tackle falling vaccine rates in children “before it is too late”, a leading scientific adviser to the government has warned.

The proportion of infants and toddlers vaccinated against childhood diseases in England has fallen in the past five years and experts say the recent detection of polio in London wastewater provides a warning of a potential resurgence of other illnesses, such as measles.

Figures show that fewer children across the country received a vaccine in 2020-21 to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria and rotavirus, compared to 2016-17. London reported some of the lowest and sharpest declines during that time.

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