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Whooping Cough

Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current estimated vaccination rate against whooping cough currently; what is was in 1978, 1979 and 1987; and whether he will make a statement.

The percentage vaccination rates in England against whooping cough for the earlier years quoted were:

The latest year for which confirmed figures are available is 1988–89, when the uptake in England was 75 per cent. I am delighted to say, however, that the COVER—cover of vaccination evaluated rapidly—programme at the public health laboratory service board's communicable disease surveillance centre has recently reported results which demonstrate that at May this year vaccination coverage on whooping cough had reached 82 per cent. for England. Several district health authorities are believed to have reached coverage of 90 per cent. or more. These figures do not take account of the effect on uptake of the immunisation bonus payments for general practitioners, introduced in the new contract from April this year, or of the acceleration to two, three, and four months of the schedule for vaccinating infants against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis, which began on 1 May. We hope that both these developments will lead to even better coverage.