An 'alarming' fall in childhood vaccination rates should serve as a wake-up call to parents and authorities about the need for children to be protected against disease, local government leaders have warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) says councils are calling on parents and guardians to visit their local GP, clinic or health centre as soon as possible to make sure their children have all their vaccinations.
The warning follows the latest figures from NHS Digital showing a decline in vaccination rates against 13 diseases, including measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and meningitis.
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: 'This alarming fall in childhood vaccination rates should serve as a wake-up call to parents and authorities about the need to ensure our children are property protected and immunised against disease.
'Coverage rates for the past year are the lowest for a decade and it is the responsibility of those who look after our next generation that their health is safeguarded to prevent and protect against any future outbreak.
'Councils, which are responsible for public health, are calling on all parents and guardians to visit their local GP, clinic or health centre to make sure their children have all their vaccinations as soon as possible, in order to reverse this worrying trend.
'We are committed to improving uptake rates and implementing the new vaccination strategy, working with those in health and education.
'However, councils could achieve so much more if they had greater oversight and powers to lead their local public health strategies.'