MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
Researchers working on immunisation
How our research is making a difference
Improving uptake of vaccines
Our findings have been used to inform both national and local policies on immunisation, training programmes and practice.
Most recently it was used in the production of the 2009 NICE guidelines, Reducing differences in the uptake of immunisations (including targeted vaccines) among children and young people aged under 19 years.
Dr Helen Bedford and Dr David Elliman (Consultant in Community Child Health at Whittington Health) have worked together on a number of resources for parents and healthcare professionals. These include:
- Immunisation - a website for parents who have questions about vaccinating their child
- Childhood Immunisation: The Facts - a book published by the Health Protection Agency for parents and healthcare professionals (currently being updated)
- A module on immunisation for the healthy child e-learning programme developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
The centre has a long history of research around vaccination programmes in the UK. Our research:
- synthesises evidence on the saftety and effectiveness of vaccines
- investigates the attitudes and knowledge of parents and healthcare professionals around immunisation
- looks at what socio-economic or cultural factors influence whether or not a child is more or less likely to be vaccinated
- investigates the range of other factors that affect the uptake of vaccines
Training on immunisation
Dr Helen Bedford provides training and information sessions on immunisation to audiences, including parents, primary care staff, GPs, paediatric nurses and medical students.
Current and recent research
- Patterns of uptake of childhood immunisation
- Adolescent immunisation
- Communication guidelines for health professionals
- Select publications on immunisation
The most recent study looked at uptake of MMR vaccine. Although uptake of the infant vaccines exceeds the 95% that is needed for herd immunity, the uptake of the combined measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is below this threshold.
A 2007 study using data from the Millennium Cohort Study set out to explore the factors affecting uptake of MMR vaccine. The study investigated how certain socio-economic and cultural factors related to the uptake of the vaccine. The aim was to identify specific groups that could be targeted through policies and practices to increase the uptake of the MMR vaccine.
Dr Helen Bedford is collaborating on research into the attitudes of adolescents towards immunisation. This is research is being done with the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and the findings will contribute towards future policy on schedules for adolescent immunisation.
More information: MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Helen Bedford is collaborating with the team including Dr Julie Leak from the University of Sydney, Australia, Prof Paul Kinnersley, Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Dr Cath Jackson, University of York and Prof Francine Cheater, Glasgow Caledonian University on the development of guidelines for professionals on communicating with parents.
BMC Pediatr. 2012 Sep 21;12(1):154
BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Aug 24;11:226
MMR vaccine and autism
BMJ 2010 Feb
Factors associated with uptake of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) and use of single antigen vaccines in a contemporary UK cohort: prospective cohort study
BMJ 2008 Apr
Differences in risk factors for partial and no immunisation in the first year of life:
prospective cohort study
BMJ 2006 Jun
Page last modified on 11 dec 12 14:39