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AIM—To assess the
potential for administering catch up and scheduled immunisations during
METHODS—Immunisation status according to the child's principal carer was checked against official records for 1000 consecutively admitted preschool age children. Junior doctors were instructed to offer appropriate vaccination before discharge, and consultants were asked to reinforce this proactive policy on ward rounds.
RESULTS—Excluding those children who were not fully immunised against pertussis through parental choice, 142 children (14.2%) had missed an age appropriate immunisation and 41 were due a scheduled immunisation. None had a valid contraindication. Only 43 children were offered vaccination on the ward but uptake was 65% in this group.
CONCLUSIONS—Admission to hospital provides opportunities for catch up and routine immunisations and can contribute to the health care of an often disadvantaged group of children. These opportunities are frequently missed. Junior doctors must be encouraged to see opportunistic immunisation as an important part of their routine work.