New Digital Red Book aims to Tackle Falling Childhood Vaccination Rates by Sending Reminders to Parents
The State of Child Health 2020 report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health makes for uncomfortable reading for policymakers, health professionals and parents.
The RCPCH report reveals that there has been a decline between 2014 and 2018 for the six-in-one vaccination and MMR, and all four nations fell short of the 95% WHO target for the 2nd dose of MMR.
Vaccine uptake rates for both the 6-in-1 vaccine and MMR vaccine are considerably lower in England in comparison to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Tushar Srivastava, founder of Nurturey, a child health app that is working closely with NHS Digital (DPCHR program) to develop a mobile version of the red book for parents believes that the app will help to address falling vaccination rates: “Thousands of children every year are being left unprotected; we are in the process of making it possible for parents to be sent vaccination reminders directly through the app, whilst also enabling parents to book vaccination appointments with their GP directly through the digital red book app.”
Missed or delayed immunisations are a problem that is contributing to falling vaccination rates and it’s one that needs to be addressed in order to end child health inequalities. Developers of the digital red book believe that a move away from the paper-based red book could be part of the solution; as well sending parents reminders to book their child’s jabs, the digital red book will also become a place where parents could assess trusted health information relating to immunisations and their importance.
Tushar added: “The RCPCH survey results corresponds with data we’ve gathered from a survey we did last month; in our survey 10% of parents surveyed said they had delayed or missed vaccinations because they either forgot their appointment or did not receive a reminder from their GP. This is really worrying, especially when you consider the UK recently lost its measles-free status with the World Health Organization. It is crucial that we all do our bit to ensure that children are not missing vaccinations that could be life-saving.”
The new digital red book will make it possible for GPs to send reminders to parents ahead of their appointments, and for parents to stay up-to-date and keep track of exactly what vaccinations their child or children have had. It is hoped that this new initiative will help improve childhood vaccination rates, because parents will receive better education on vaccinations and be reminded when important vaccinations are due.