Background: We wished to ascertain immunization uptake rates in the strictly orthodox Jewish community in Hackney and to survey reasons for non-uptake and attitudes to immunization and immunization services within this community.
Methods: A total of 575 strictly orthodox Jewish children, aged under 2.5 years, were identified from three general practices in the community, and a random sampling of 100 of these children was carried out. The sample uptake recorded by family doctors was compared with District uptake rates. A questionnaire was administered to parents. The main outcome measures were immunization uptake rate, reasons for non-uptake, and attitudes to immunization.
Results: Percentage immunization uptake (95 per cent confidence intervals) was: third diphtheria 86 per cent (82-90 per cent); third pertussis 82 per cent (78-86 per cent); and MMR 79 per cent (75-85 per cent). District uptake rates for a cohort of the same age, and at the time of the study, were: third diphtheria 82 per cent; third pertussis 79 per cent; and MMR 83 per cent. Sixty-seven parents completed the questionnaire (72 per cent response) and their children's uptake was the same as for children of nonresponders. All parents thought immunization to be important.
Conclusions: For all immunizations, uptake in the strictly orthodox Jewish community is not significantly different from that of the District. Responding parents had positive attitudes to the value and safety of immunizations but wished better access to services. Health professionals need to question their perceptions so that efforts to improve uptake amongst ethnic minority groups are based on facts and are responsive to identified needs.