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Unmet vaccination need among children under the age of five attending the paediatric emergency department: a cross-sectional study in a large UK district general hospital

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Article numbere072053
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>27/06/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date26/06/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


ObjectiveTo estimate vaccination coverage among children under the age of five attending the paediatric emergency department (PED) using tetanus and MMR vaccination as a proxy.DesignA cross-sectional observational study with a single data collection point for each participant.SettingA single large PED in Greater Manchester, England.ParticipantsChildren (under 5 years old) attending the PED during October 2021. Participation was ‘opt-out’ and parents/carers were given until the end of the following month to request that their child’s data be excluded.Primary and secondary outcome measuresThe primary outcome of interest was the percentage of children who were up-to-date with their routine childhood vaccinations at their time of attendance to the PED. Secondary outcome measures were the percentage of children who had received age-appropriate tetanus and MMR vaccination, and how these compared with local population data at the ages of 1, 2 and 5 years of age.ResultsOne-third of under-5s in this study had unmet vaccination need and were missing at least one dose of either MMR or tetanus-containing vaccine. In older age groups, many were missing their tetanus boosters and only 1 in 5 of those eligible had received two doses of MMR. Those in younger age groups had vaccination coverage levels comparable to the local data, but still below the target of 95%.ConclusionsThose children eligible for preschool boosters (tetanus and MMR2) appear to have considerable unmet vaccination need. While the pandemic has had an impact, the observation that MMR2 uptake is considerably lower than tetanus booster (when they are scheduled together) warrants further investigation. Catch-up campaigns for MMR2 should focus on this cohort of children and the PED may offer an opportunity for an intervention.Trial registration numberNCT04485624.