Warning issued on child vaccines

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 June 2011

Mum & baby

Mum & baby

NHS general shot

CHILDREN in Weston are not receiving the vital immunisations they need to protect them from potentially deadly illnesses, according to health watchdogs.

A review by NHS North Somerset found the lowest rates of injections in the county included children of mothers aged under 25 and more than 35 years of age, and those living in central Weston.

The survey also found immunisation rates were especially low for injections given from 12 months onwards in North Somerset.

In a bid to raise awareness of the issue, the NHS is launching a campaign this month to alert mothers to the dangers of not having their children vaccinated.

NHS North Somerset director of public health, Becky Pollard, said: “We want to ensure that mothers are aware of the vital importance of immunisation as a means of protecting their children from serious, often life-threatening illnesses.

“There are some diseases that can kill children or cause lasting damage to their health.”

Weston College student, Lindsey Inman, is urging parents to ensure their children have the MMR vaccination after a 10-fold rise in measles was reported nationally.

The 50-year-old, from Mark, contracted the infectious viral illness when she was three years old before vaccines were available.

Measles damaged nerves connecting Lindsey’s sound-conducting bones inside her ears, leaving her with 60 per cent deafness that went undiagnosed until she was 21.

Despite Lindsey’s mother feeling something was wrong, doctors could find nothing and Lindsey struggled through school, learning to lip read herself.

The mother-of-two, who is studying counselling, said: “School staff thought I was slow. I couldn’t hear and missed a lot so I learned to fade into the background.

“I have made sure my daughters, now 20 and 16, got the MMR and every test necessary.”

Lindsey now has computerised hi-tech hearing aids and plans to go on to study level three counselling and a sign language course in the hope of becoming a learning support assistant.

NHS North Somerset health improvement specialist, Lianne Straus, said: “Our awareness campaign aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding vaccination and vaccines, and emphasise the importance of protecting children against the diseases which can seriously compromise their long term health.”

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