In support of World Immunisation Awareness Week, the NHS is reminding parents and carers of the importance of vaccinating their child against a host of serious diseases.
The vaccination jabs which children receive in their early years – between birth and when they first go to school – are very important in helping them build protection against infections such as meningitis, diphtheria, polio, measles and mumps. While the majority of children are fully vaccinated, in 2016 only 84% of IOW children received both doses of the MMR jab, meaning 218 were potentially not protected. Similarly, only 83% of eligible children received the 4-in-1 pre-school booster, with over 236 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.
Mandy Bampton, Local Health Visitor and Immunisation Lead (0-19 Public Health Nursing services), said: ‘After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world for saving lives and promoting good health [World Health Organisation].
“As Specialist Public Health Nurses our role is to advise and support parents and carers with regards to vaccinating their child, by providing up to date guidance and discussions around immunisations.
“By having their child immunised parents are reducing the risks of children and other vulnerable members of the community being seriously ill from vaccine preventable diseases. Health Visitors and School Nurses are available to discuss any questions or concerns parents may have regarding vaccinating their child and can provide more information if needed as well as speaking to your GP.”
It is important that children are fully up-to-date with all their jabs before they start school for the first time, which is when they come into contact with more potential sources of infection. Vaccination programmes protect the whole population by making it harder for a disease to spread to others.
More information is available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.