Research Article

Comparison of immunisation rates in general practice and child health clinics.

BMJ 1991; 303 doi: (Published 26 October 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;303:1035
  1. J Li,
  2. B Taylor
  1. Department of Community Child Health, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To compare immunisation uptake rates in general practice surgeries and community child health clinics. DESIGN--Cohort study using data from a computerised child health system. SETTING--Four health districts of North East Thames Regional Health Authority. SUBJECTS--3616 children born January to March 1990 and resident in the four districts at the end of January 1991. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Immunisation uptake rates at 10-12 months of age, age at immunisation, scheduling performance at the two locations, and odds ratios of outstanding immunisations. RESULTS--80% of children registered at general practices had completed their third dose of pertussis immunisation compared with 68% of those at health clinics. Median ages at the third dose were 24 weeks and 29 weeks at the two locations respectively. Scheduling was more effective at general practice surgeries. Unscheduled immunisations were more likely to be given after the recommended age. Overall, children resident in rural and suburban areas had greater uptakes than those in inner cities. Odds ratios for not being fully immunised among children registered at health clinics were 1.4 times those among children immunised in general practice and 3.0 times greater among children resident in inner cities than among those in rural and suburban districts. Children who moved into a district, however, were no less likely to be fully immunised than children who were born there. CONCLUSIONS--The immunisation uptake rate was better in general practices than in child health clinics in both inner city and rural and suburban areas. Uptake may be increased with additional support to enable general practitioners to undertake immunisations, especially in inner cities.