About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland provides an annual and quarterly update of immunisation uptake rates for children in Scotland. Immunisation programmes for children aim to protect the individual child from many serious infectious diseases and prevent the spread of disease in the wider population.

Information is shown for NHS Boards and local authorities, at 12 months, 24 months, five years and six years of age.

Main points

  • Annual uptake rates remained high in Scotland in 2020: over 96% of children had received each routine immunisation by the time they were 12 months of age, apart from rotavirus vaccine, which had 94.1% uptake.
  • The vast majority of children received their booster vaccines by 24 months of age: Hib/MenC (95.0%), Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) (95.1%), MenB (94.4%).
  • The first dose of MMR vaccine is offered between 12 and 13 months old and the second dose at 3 years 4 months old. Although normally given at these times, it can be given at any age if missed.
    • 94.9% of children had the first dose of MMR vaccine by 24 months of age. This rose to 96.5% for children who had reached age five.
    • Uptake of the second dose of MMR vaccine by five years was 92.1%, rising to 93.1% by age six years.
Image caption Uptake of one dose of MMR by 24 months of age in 2020 by NHS Board of treatment
Map of Scotland showing MMR uptake rate (%) by 24 months of age in each NHS Board in 2020.  Each NHS Board is shaded to indicate the  uptake rate. Further details are found in the accompanying text.
  • Children from the more deprived areas were less likely to take up the vaccines than children from the less deprived areas.
  • All measures of annual vaccine uptake at 12 months, 24 months and 6 years increased compared with 2019, as well as the majority of vaccines measured at 5 years of age.
  • Quarterly vaccine uptake rates also remained high. All measures of quarterly vaccine uptake at 24 months increased compared to the previous quarter; there were both increases and decreases for vaccines measured at 5 years, while there were decreases in vaccine uptake as measured at 12 months and 6 years of age.


As a public health measure, immunisations are very effective in reducing the burden of disease. The European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) (external website) recommends that on a national basis at least 95% of children are immunised against diseases preventable by immunisation and targeted for elimination or control. These include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), measles, mumps and rubella.

Rotavirus vaccine helps to protect young children from infection that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting. This vaccine should be given within strict age limits, with the first dose before 15 weeks and second dose before 24 weeks of age. These age limits mean that if a child is not immunised with the first dose early enough, due to missed appointments for example, then it may not be possible for them to complete the full two dose course before 24 weeks. This explains why uptake of the completed two dose course of rotavirus vaccine is slightly lower than completed courses of the other vaccines offered in the first year of life.

Information on uptake among pre-school children eligible for immunisation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is available on our COVID-19 wider impacts on the healthcare system dashboard (external website) and shows that uptake has remained high.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be in June 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.childhealthstats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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