Vaccine uptake in the Irish Travelling community: an audit of general practice records

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Abstract

Background

Compared to the general population, the Traveller community has substantial health inequalities. Vaccination coverage in Traveller children is estimated to be low and Travellers are at higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases due to their social circumstances.

Methods

Audit of vaccination history of Traveller (n = 214) and non-Traveller (n = 776) children registered at a general practice in England. The Green Book childhood immunization schedule was used as a reference standard.

Results

There was significantly lower coverage for Traveller children compared to non-Traveller children for all vaccinations in the routine childhood immunization schedule. The percentage of children completing the schedule at all time points was significantly lower in the Traveller community.

Conclusions

Traveller communities have significantly lower uptake of vaccinations, and therefore Travellers' children should be targeted by general practitioners for catch-up vaccination to improve outcomes for individuals and local herd immunity.

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