Sandwell and West Birmingham parents and their families are being reminded of the importance of vaccinations ahead of European Immunisation Week, which takes place from 24-30 April.
NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging patients overdue an immunisation to contact their GP practice to arrange a life-saving jab.
In 2017-18, coverage declined in nine of the 12 routine vaccinations measured at ages 12 months, 24 months or five years in England compared to the previous year*. In Sandwell and West Birmingham uptake for the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR – 1st dose at 24 months) vaccine was 88.7%**, compared to the national average of 91.2%. The World Health Organization’s target for MMR vaccination is 95%.
Every year, the World Health Organisation European Region marks European Immunisation Week (EIW) to promote immunisation as vital to preventing diseases and protecting life.
Dr Edward Jenner, the Gloucestershire doctor who invented the first immunisation, for smallpox, in 1796, is the only doctor in history who can claim that his work has completely eradicated a disease from mankind, and millions of people since owe their lives and wellbeing to the work that followed from him.
The GP of two or three generations ago would commonly deal with some truly awful infections in babies and young children: illnesses like diphtheria, polio, and whooping cough that caused untold misery and indeed cases of lasting disability and death. Thanks to the immunisation programmes of the last decades, these illnesses are now either very rare, or extinct: the whole of Europe was declared polio-free in 2002. More recently, newer vaccines have become available for children – children are now vaccinated against viruses that cause diarrhoea and sickness, and against some of the bacteria that can cause meningitis.
Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:
"Vaccination prevents disease, protects life and is a strong foundation for life-long health and well-being. So, we are supporting European Immunisation Week to emphasise the importance of the vaccinations that are offered to all children registered at our GP Practices.
"Childhood immunisations are free and are used to protect children from diseases which can be very serious causing long-term complications and even death. It’s important to have vaccinations at the right age to keep the risk of disease as low as possible. Some immunisations are given more than once to make sure the protection continues. This is known as a booster, so it’s vital that parents ensure that their child gets it when it is needed.
"Immunisation begins at two months, when a baby's natural immunity to illness begins to drop. The protection immunisations offered to children against serious diseases are worth the small amount of pain. Immunisations don’t just protect children during childhood, they protect them for life."
Visit https://bit.ly/2FQNkrw for information about immunisations. For more information about European Immunisation Week visit https://bit.ly/1outJgF