Hackney has lowest 6-in-1 childhood vaccination rate in England

Data showed only 68% of children in Hackney had taken their first dose of the 6-in-1 vaccine by their first birthday. Pic: PA Media

Hackney recorded the lowest childhood vaccination rates in the country for serious illnesses like polio and whooping cough over the last year.

The latest data, co-authored by the NHS and the UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA), found that only 68% of children in Hackney had taken their primary jab of the 6-in-1 vaccine by their first birthday, significantly lower than the London average of 88%.

The 6-in-1 vaccine protects against six types of serious illnesses, including diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae Type B), polio, tetanus and whooping cough.

Under the NHS vaccination schedule, it is recommended that babies complete all three doses of the 6-in-1 vaccine within 16 weeks of being born, unless they have had serious allergic reactions to a previous dose of the vaccine.

The data showed that children in Hackney tended to receive the vaccination later than children in other parts of London and the rest of the country.

The proportion of children in the borough who had received their first 6-in-1 jab rose from 68% by first birthday to 79% by fifth birthday.

In London overall, the 6-in-1 rate increased from 87.6% by first birthday to 88.1% by fifth birthday. In England, the rate rose from 91.8% by first birthday to 93.2% by fifth birthday.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney and the City, told ELL: "It is understandable and unsurprising that areas with ethnically diverse populations, high levels of deprivation, that are densely populated and have poor digital access have amongst the lowest childhood vaccination uptake."

According to the Census 2021, Hackney’s population is made up of around 48% non-white ethnic groups.

"As a council, we have been working with our diverse communities to understand barriers to vaccinations and how we can best address them, so that all of our local residents have easy access to vaccines and feel confident in taking them when offered," she said.

In 2021, the National Immunisation Programme: Health Equity Audit published by Public Health England showed that vaccination coverage for certain ethnic groups, such as Black Caribbean and White Polish, appeared lower than rates for White-British children.

Some other ethnic groups like South Asian, however, had similar or higher vaccination coverage than White-British children.

The numbers, which are part of the Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics for England in 2022-23, also showed that Hackney rated the lowest for children receiving flu jabs both across London and England overall.

Only a quarter of three-year-olds in Hackney had received a dose between September 2022 and February 2023, lower than the London-wide average of 38% and England average of 45%.

"We have undertaken community webinars focused on childhood immunisations, pop-up vaccination clinics in areas with the lowest rates, helped the NHS to locate vaccination centres in the heart of our communities, and co-produced our communications about childhood vaccinations with the populations we are trying to reach, to ensure they are as clear and effective as possible," said Dr Husbands.

"That is why we have been and will continue to work with our partners in the NHS, who are responsible for delivering the vaccination programme, local GPs and the community sector, to ensure people from all backgrounds and of all ages are able to access reliable and trusted public health information."

All vaccinations for babies and children are accessible through local GPs.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:

  • Children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023 (born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2021)
  • All primary school children (Reception to Year 6)
  • Some secondary school aged children (Year 7 to Year 11)
  • Children aged 2 to 17 years with certain long-term health conditions

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