NHS vaccination programmes against measles and hepatitis B in the under-19 age group must be expanded, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

It reports that uptake of the triple measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is too low, and that babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B-positive are seriously at risk.

NICE public health director Professor Mike Kelly said: “These babies are at risk of infection and serious illness, and implementing a follow-up vaccination programme to help prevent hepatitis B infection will not only have positive health benefits for the child, but save the NHS money in the future.”

There have been outbreaks of measles across the UK even as health authorities seek to achieve “herd immunity” with a 95 per cent vaccination rate for MMR, he said.

He recommended ensuring that primary care trusts and GPs share vaccination information, and that surgeries check patient records to ensure childhood vaccinations are up to date.

He said longer appointment times, extended hours, mobile services and walk-in vaccination clinics should also be introduced.