Medics fear outbreaks as hundreds of unvaccinated kids due to start school in Warwickshire - The Rugby Observer

Medics fear outbreaks as hundreds of unvaccinated kids due to start school in Warwickshire

Rugby Editorial 26th Aug, 2019   0

HUNDREDS of Warwickshire children getting ready to start primary school next month have not been fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Around 600 school starters in the county have not received both vaccines according to Public Health England (PHE) estimates, based on figures for 2017/18.

PHE is calling on parents to check their child’s Red Book to ensure their children are up-to-date with scheduled immunisations as part of its Value of Vaccines campaign.

The public health body says 95 per cent of the population needs to be immunised to achieve ‘herd immunity’ – protecting the public at large.

In the UK, dose one of the MMR vaccine is usually given to infants at around 12 months of age.

A second dose is given before school, usually at three years and four months of age, to ensure best protection.

PHE says two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected.

The 4-in-1 pre-school booster is also usually offered at three years and four months of age and protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.

It is estimated around 30,000 of the 680,000 five-year-olds who start school in England each year have not received their first dose of MMR, leaving them at greater risk compared to pupils who are fully vaccinated.

Dr Ashis Banerjee, screening and immunisation lead for Public Health England West Midlands, said: “We’re particularly concerned about children being at greater risk of measles.

“We’ve seen outbreaks of this disease in the West Midlands in the past two years and we’re continuing to see outbreaks of the disease occurring in communities across the country, many linked to visiting European countries over the summer holidays.

“The vast majority of those affected are not fully immunised, and vaccine-preventable diseases spread more easily in schools.

“It’s crucial that children have maximum protection as they begin to mix with other children at the start of their school journey.

“We often think these diseases are confined to the past, but the World Health Organization has recently confirmed that measles is no longer eliminated in England.

“Whilst tetanus and polio are still rare thanks to the success of the NHS childhood immunisation programme, over the past few years we’ve also seen cases of whooping cough and diphtheria in school-aged children.”

To check that your child has received all their vaccines visit and refer to your child’s Red Book.

If in any doubt, contact your GP practice.

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