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A guide to childhood vaccinations.London: BSI; 2023

Burki T The future of childhood immunisation. Lancet Respir Med. 2023; 11:(7)

Clutterbuck E The biology of vaccine responses. Nurse Prescribing. 2015; 13:(8)384-389

Davies K, Batt R, Crawford D Biological basis of child health 14: understanding the immune system, vaccines, allergy and disease. Nurs Child Young People. 2021;

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Holford D, Schmid P, Fasce A, Lewandowsky S The empathetic refutational interview to tackle vaccine misconceptions: Four randomized experiments. Health Psychol. 2024; 43:(6)426-437

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A competency framework for all prescribers.London: RPS; 2021

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A–Z of prescribing for children

02 June 2024
Volume 6 · Issue 6


This series focuses on aspects of prescribing for neonates, children and young people, from A–Z. Aspects of pharmacokinetics will be considered, alongside legal considerations, consent and medications in schools

Since the discovery of the smallpox vaccine in the late 18th century, it is still estimated that 20% of deaths in children under 5 years of age are due to diseases that can be prevented by current licensed vaccines (Lahariya, 2016). There remain many vaccine misconceptions, usually triggered by misinformation or viewpoints from those active in ‘anti-vaccine’ movements (Holford et al, 2024). Parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their child may choose alternative schedules, or refuse vaccines, and may depend on homeopathic or naturopathic practice (Anderson, 2015), so it is important that healthcare professionals are well informed regarding immunisations (Davies et al, 2021).

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, given when a child is 1 year of age, and again at 3 years, 4 months of age (British Society for Immunology (BSI), 2023) has been the focus of safety concerns in recent years due to disproven theories associating the vaccine with autism. This has resulted in a decrease in the uptake of vaccines (see Figure 1), and an increase in the incidence of measles throughout Europe, although calls for vaccines to be mandatory may, conversely, harm public health policies (Kennedy, 2020).

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