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Immunisation statistics welcomed

03 February 2017

Officials from the Health and Social Services Department have welcomed the latest annual immunisation uptake statistics for Jersey, published by the Public Health Statistics Unit.

Islanders of all ages are protected through immunisation against many serious infectious diseases. Vaccination programmes aim to protect the individual and to prevent the spread of infectious diseases within the wider population. Any decrease in the Island’s immunisation rates would be likely to raise the risk of disease being transmitted.

Headlines of the report, which covers the year ended December 2015, include:

  • Immunisation of babies in Jersey remains high, with more than 96 per cent completing their primary courses of injections against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib, Meningococcal C and Pneumococcal disease, by 12 months of age. Over 95 per cent of babies were protected against rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrhoea. The uptake for one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was 97 per cent, by five years of age, which is well above the World Health Organization’s target of 95 per cent
  • Of the immunisations offered in schools, 87 per cent of school year 8 girls completed the full course of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The vaccination protects against two types of HPV, which are responsible for more than 70 per cent of cervical cancers. This latest figure was a slight decrease on the rate for the previous academic year 2014-2015. In school year 9, the uptake rate for the tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster injection was 91 per cent, higher than reported/estimated UK rates. Uptake of the newly-introduced MenACWY vaccine, which protects against meningitis and blood poisoning caused by meningococcal group A, C, W and Y bacteria, was 94% amongst school year 9 pupils
  • In 2015, 57% of primary school children in reception, years 1 and 2 were vaccinated against seasonal flu; this is a new and gradually extending programme that will eventually offer flu vaccination to all primary school year groups. Half of adults aged over 65 also received a seasonal flu vaccine, while around one in four pre-school children aged two- to four-years-old (25 per cent), pregnant women (28 per cent) and those deemed at clinical risk aged 16 to 64 (26 per cent) received a flu vaccination

Consultant Paediatrician at Jersey General Hospital, Dr Mark Jones, said “I’ve seen all too often the devastation that illnesses such as meningitis or whooping cough can have on babies, children and their families. It’s heartening that the vast majority of parents in Jersey are taking the positive step of protecting their children through immunisation.”

Among pregnant women, as recorded by GP surgeries, 59% received a pre-natal vaccine protecting against whooping cough, since April 2016; this vaccination boosts the protective antibodies passed from mothers-to-be to their baby and is designed to protect very young babies against whooping cough during the months before they have their own immunisation injections and until these take full effect.

Head of Preventive Programmes, Dr Linda Diggle, said “In Jersey, many people frequently travel to and from the UK, so it’s not surprising that we tend to have the same patterns of infectious diseases as occur in the UK. It’s really important therefore that we offer, wherever possible, UK levels of immunisation. Sometimes, as a small community, we are able to do even better. This was clearly demonstrated in 2015, when the UK reported a deadly outbreak of meningitis W rapidly escalating in the UK. In Jersey, we quickly sourced vaccine supplies and offered the MenACWY immunisation to young people in order to protect them and limit the disease from impacting on our Island.”

Dr Diggle said “We need to remember the old adage of ‘prevention being better than cure’. This is still true and we shouldn’t become complacent about the value of immunisation. We’re now facing increasing antibiotic resistance, whereby there’s a risk that some of our antibiotics may not protect us in the future; in the light of this, having the vaccinations that are offered will prevent disease from happening in the first place, keeping antibiotics for those occasions when they are really needed.”

Download Immunisation Statistics 2015 report (size 1.7mb)​

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