The Committee gave consideration to a report of the Director of Public Health on the uptake of childhood vaccination across Trafford, with a particular focus on MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) viruses. The Committee had requested the information because of recent reports of a progressive decline across the nation in the uptake of the MMR vaccines.
The author of the report accompanied by the Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Equalities and the Consultant in Public Health attended the meeting to present the information and address the enquiries of the Committee.
Officers explained that measles was a very contagious and dangerous disease. Vaccinations were highly effective but nationally vaccine update had declined since 2013/2014. In Trafford, MMR vaccinations had not reached the target of 95% population coverage. Officers explained that, in order to prevent a local outbreak, the Council had adopted a multi-agency approach working with General Practices, Greater Manchester Screening and Immunisation Team as well as with the community to raise awareness on the importance of the vaccination.
Members sought clarification on the causes of low coverage for MMR vaccination in Trafford. Officers explained that this depended on the type of vaccination which took place in two stages and the difficulty in tracking patients who moved frequently from an area to another. The Committee was reassured that work was ongoing with the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that patient lists were accurate. The Committee also enquired about communication concerning the availability of a different type of MMR vaccine to meet the needs of some faith groups as well as more general information regarding the effectiveness of vaccinations and, in connection with this, the importance of their timeliness. Officers concurred with this view and explained that work was ongoing with general practitioners to ensure that children with underlying health conditions were prioritised for flu vaccinations when delays in the supply of the vaccines occurred. When enquired about the reasons for the low uptake in MMR vaccination, Officers explained that it was difficult to establish. However, work was ongoing at Greater Manchester level which focussed on families and nurseries to promote MMR and flu vaccinations; health visitors represented a great resource to address families’ concerns. Officers added that, in newly arrived populations, the uptake of the vaccine was significantly higher, possibly because of a better understanding of the impact of measles. Officers added that Public Health sessions were delivered to faith and community groups; they added that support for other members of the community would help to divulge the message of vaccination.
1. That the content of the report be noted;
2. That a progress report be presented at the meeting of the Committee in March 2020 to inform of –
a. Actions being taken to promote the message about alternative MMR vaccine to meet the needs of some faith groups;
b. Reasons for poor uptake of MMR vaccines in some general practices in the Borough;
c. Update on community work being developed to promote immunisation;
d. Package of training for councillors on immunisation to help to support message in the community.