This week (24th–30th April) is world immunisation week. We are sharing how vaccines can help protect us all from serious and highly infectious disease and illness.
In Greater Manchester, there has been a decline in the uptake of childhood vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. This decline is reflected nationally. Latest figures show only 84.8% of 5-year-olds in Greater Manchester have had both doses of their MMR vaccine. This is below the 95% World Health Organization’s (WHO) target needed to achieve and sustain measles elimination. Uptake of childhood vaccinations has declined by 7.5% since December 2017 in Greater Manchester.
Children are offered two doses of the MMR vaccine – the first when they are 1-year-old and the second at 3-years and 4-months old. NHS Greater Manchester is urging parents and carers to check that their child is up to date with the MMR vaccine and other childhood immunisations. People can check by either looking at their child’s Red Book (personal child health record) or contacting their GP.
Measles, mumps and rubella can have serious health consequences and is one of the world’s most contagious diseases. One in five people who get measles need to go to hospital. The illness can result in deafness, fits and brain damage. However, the MMR vaccine is a safe and highly effective way to offer your child, and those around them, protection.
Dr Helen Wall, clinical director for population health, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said:
“It is worrying to see a decline in the number of children getting their vaccinations. With even small drops in the number of people coming forward for vaccination, it’s possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again. Earlier this month, we had a confirmed case of measles in Greater Manchester
“We want to remind parents that vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our children and those around us against ill health. If you think your child has missed a vaccination, please contact your GP to catch up.
“I understand that parents may hesitate to get their child vaccinated because they worry about vaccine safety. I want to reassure those parents, that all vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child. Children may experience mild side effects such as the area where the needle goes in being sore or being a bit unwell for a couple of days. This however far outweighs the risk of these, sometimes life-threatening, illnesses.”
More information: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/