Hundreds of North Somerset children at risk of serious disease
PUBLISHED: 12:28 27 April 2017
Hundreds of children in North Somerset are being put at risk of contracting serious diseases because parents are ‘too busy’ to keep their inoculations up to date.
Figures released this week by the World Health Organistion (WHO) show more than 10 per cent of youngsters across the district are missing out on vital vaccinations.
This can leave them vulnerable to serious illnesses including meningitis, diptheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.
The WHO says its minimum target benchmark for vaccination cover within a given community is 90 per cent, and warns that anything below that figure can put a community at risk of a major outbreak.
Although some of the diseases in question are rare, they remain in circulation, and low levels of vaccination can lead to an increased risk of infectious spreading.
In North Somerset, the majority of children have been vaccinated, but levels stand at or below the WHO benchmark, meaning a real risk exists.
Only 89 per cent of children in the district have received both doses of the MMR jab, meaning 289 youngsters are not properly protected.
The four-in-one pre-school booster, which protects against diseases such as diptheria and polio, has a slightly higher take-up rate of 90 per cent, but again, some 244 North Somerset children are still at risk.
Nigel Acheson, medical director for NHS England South, has urged parents to make time in their schedule to book in appointments for their children to have the necessary jabs at their local GP surgery.
He says it is especially 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.
Mr Acheson 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.”
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