Concern about London’s low vaccination rate

04 July 2019

The London Assembly has today agreed that more children in London must be vaccinated.


Currently, London children are below the national rate for vaccinations.


Dr Onkar Sahota AM, who proposed the motion said:  

“It’s deeply concerning that so many London children are missing their MMR vaccinations, and that there is such inequality in uptake across London. There’s little doubt that significant cuts to public health allocations to the capital are hindering efforts to turn this around.


“It goes without saying that the health of our children must be a top priority for all politicians. We need the Mayor to bring together partners in public health to ensure that all children are able to benefit, and part of that work must be around dispelling the myths about the safety of these essential vaccinations.”



The full text of the motion is:

The London Assembly notes with concern the low rates of vaccination for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) for children in London, compared to elsewhere in the UK, and further notes that Public Health England has attributed recent outbreaks of measles to children missing out on vaccinations.


The Assembly also notes the large discrepancy in vaccination rates between London Boroughs.[1] While no London borough meets the MMR national target of 95% vaccination by two years of age, there is a 17.5 percentage point gap between the best and worst areas of the city.


This Assembly believes, in line with overwhelming medical evidence, that vaccines are crucial to promote herd immunity, whereby the potential for any one case of a disease to spread is strongly limited, and to protect immunocompromised children, who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, from harmful infections.


This Assembly further believes that vaccination programmes have been hindered by the loss of £66.8m from the public health allocation to London Boroughs since 2015, and continuing high vacancy rates in the NHS. In the first three months of 2019, there were 1236 community health service jobs vacant in London, which covers such vital staff as school and district nurses.


This Assembly calls on the Mayor to work with the London Prevention Partnership Board, early years centres, schools and health professionals, through Healthy Schools London and Healthy Early Years London, to increase the uptake of vaccines and to dispel myths about vaccines.


This Assembly also calls on the Mayor to include education about the history, science and importance of vaccines in the London Curriculum, focusing on key figures and points in the history of vaccines such as Edward Jenner and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed by 12 votes for and 5 votes against.
  3. [1] Borough breakdown is attached.
  4. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. 
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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