Moving the Needle: Promoting vaccination uptake across the life course

Our report, Moving the Needle, looks at the importance of vaccination through childhood, working-age adulthood, and later life, and explores the barriers to uptake at different stages of the life course.

The discovery of our ability to immunise people against disease has had an almost unprecedented impact on human health.

Though the UK has a world-leading vaccination programme and this should be celebrated, history and current events have shown that fear and misinformation about vaccines can cause significant damage to seemingly stable vaccination programmes.

While improving access to vaccines remains crucial in addressing low uptake rates – and especially in reducing inequalities in uptake – understanding the public’s attitudes to vaccination is also a valuable tool for increasing and maintaining uptake. 

 

9 in 10 parents

agreed that vaccines are important for their children's health

More than

one in four

believe incorrectly that “you can have too many vaccinations”

2 in 5 parents

are exposed to negative messages about vaccines on social media

What we're calling for

Tackling negative misconceptions of vaccines 
  • Efforts to limit health misinformation online and via social media should be increased, especially by social media platforms themselves
  • Responsibility of the press to share factual information about vaccines should be enforced by considering health impact when the IPSO Editor’s Code is broken 
  • Education on vaccines in schools should be increased and improved, especially in the PSHE curriculum

Improving access to vaccinations 
  • Vaccinations should be offered in a more diverse range of locations, including at high-street pop-ups, gyms and workplaces, utilising the wider public health workforce. This is supported by over half the public
  • Health professionals to use the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) approach to ensure vaccine advice is delivered across the health system
  • Reminder services should be improved and diversified, such as introducing birthday style social media pop-ups for the one in four of us who find forgetting appointments a key barrier to getting vaccinated

Related RSPH policy

HPV vaccination

HPV is responsible for 5% of all cancers worldwide and rates of HPV-related cancers are increasing