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Health prevention green paper aims for 95% uptake of childhood vaccinations and a smoke-free England

The government has announced its plans for health prevention over the next decade, which includes childhood vaccination programmes and plans to make England smoke-free by 2030.

Child being vaccinated

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The UK government is working towards at least 95% coverage of childhood vaccines — the level required to ensure herd immunity

A vaccination strategy will be launched in early 2020 with the aim of achieving at least 95% uptake for childhood vaccinations, along with a continued uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine, the government has announced.

The proposals are included in the Department of Health and Social Care’s green paper on health prevention, which was published on 22 July 2019 — the penultimate day of Theresa May’s premiership.

It states that the 2020s will be “the decade of proactive, predictive and personalised prevention”, achieved through targeted support, tailored lifestyle advice, personalised care and “greater protection against future threats”.

Ambitions laid out in the report include a commitment for England to become smoke-free by 2030, with revenue raising to support smoking cessation; a commitment to publish chapter three of the Childhood Obesity Strategy, along with the potential to extend the soft drinks industry levy to include sugary milk drinks; and the launch of a mental health prevention package.

The report also says that the new community pharmacy contractual framework, published on the same day, will “redefine the integral role community pharmacies play in delivering healthcare over the next five years”.

The paper also refers to plans to embed genomics into routine healthcare, review the NHS Health Check and set out a “bold future vision” for NHS screening.

Responding to the paper, think tank The King’s Fund said it included some “welcome initiatives”, but fell short of the scale and ambition needed to address “the big health challenges” that are currently faced.

The green paper is out for consultation until 14 October 2019.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206848

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