A new campaign launches on Monday 24 April, the start of the World Health Organisation (WHO) World Immunisation Week, urging parents and carers to check that their child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, protecting them from serious diseases and helping to prevent outbreaks.
While the majority of parents do ensure their child is fully vaccinated, over 1900 Hampshire children are either missing key doses or have not been vaccinated at all.
These early childhood vaccinations are vitally important as they help to build immunity, protecting a child against a host of serious diseases such as some strains of meningitis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.
Successful vaccination programmes have helped to make such diseases much rarer, but they are still in circulation and if vaccination levels fall, the likelihood of an outbreak is increased.
While the majority of children are vaccinated, in 2016 only 89% of children across Hampshire had received both doses of the MMR jab, meaning more than 1900 are potentially not protected. Similarly, only 89% of eligible children had received the 4-in-1 pre-school booster, with more than 1800 children not fully protected against the risk of diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough. It is likely that these children missed other earlier jabs too.
It is particularly important that a child is up to date with their vaccinations before they start school as this is when they come into contact with many more potential sources of infection. It is not too late for children to catch up with their vaccinations, ensuring that they are fully protected. Parents and carers are urged to speak to their GP surgery.
Nigel Acheson, Medical Director for NHS England South, said: “While the majority of parents are ensuring their child is fully vaccinated, many children are still missing doses, putting them at risk.
“Vaccination protects your child and the wider population from serious diseases and it is vital that they complete all the doses to build up the right levels of protection, particularly before they go to school.
“We know that for busy parents it can be easy to lose track of which jabs your child has had, but it is not too late – speak to your GP surgery to check if your child is up-to-date with their jabs and make sure your child is protected.”