Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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Not all heroes wear capes: protect your children with the measles vaccination

13 May 2019


 
Luton vaccine heroes call on parents to make sure children are up to date with their immunisations.
 
Public Health England(PHE)is reminding people to make sure their children are up to date with their routine vaccinations as data indicates a slight decline in uptake for childhood immunisations.
Latest figures show that the percentage of children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) by their second birthday in the East of England decreased from 92.8% in 2012/13 to 92.4% in 2017/18. Figures fell from 96.9% to 95.8% for the 6-in-1 vaccine within the same age group in the same five-year-period within the region. The 6-in-1 vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type b[Hib].
 
The call comes as part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) European Immunisation Week 24 April – 30 April, which aims to raise awareness of the benefits of vaccination and celebrate the “vaccine heroes” who contribute in so many ways to protect lives.
 
Consultant Lead Screening and Immunisation, PHE East of England, Dr Cath Fenton, said: “In the UK we have a world-leading vaccination programme with vaccine uptake rates in England currently among the highest in Europe. However, there has been a small, steady decline in infant vaccination uptake since 2013 and we are still seeing outbreaks, sometimes serious, of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.
 
“The free MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting against measles, as well as mumps and rubella. It’s particularly important for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age. If you have recently moved or aren’t registered with a GP, please contact your local GP now so that your child doesn’t miss out. It’s not too late to catch up and get your child or teenager protected from measles.
  
“Vaccine heroes in the NHS are doing amazing work day in and day out but it’s down to all of us to continue in our efforts to make sure children are offered vital protection against the risk of serious illness.”
 
Despite the year-on-year decline in uptake, latest quarterly data from PHE could be beginning to show early signs of a reversal, though it’s too early to predict what final annual uptake figures may show. The latest quarterly data suggests that vaccine coverage at 12 months of age increased by 0.4-0.9% for all vaccines compared with the previous quarter. This follows slow declines in uptake since 2012-13. According to research by the Royal Society of Public Health these small drops may be due to timing, availability and location of appointments.
 
PHE is urging all healthcare staff to speak confidently about the ‘value of vaccines’ as parents view them as the most trusted source of advice on immunisation.
 
Immunisation Clinical Delivery Manager, Luton, and surrounding areas, Rebecca Twist, said: “Despite the best endeavours by all of our ‘Vaccine Heroes’ to promote awareness, the expected target to provide herd immunity against measles hasn’t been met for a number of years. Recently, we have dealt with a number of measles outbreaks in schools across Luton and the surrounding areas. The measles virus has the potential to spread very quickly and easily to large numbers of people in highly populated environments such as schools, universities and other places where groups of people congregate.
 
“Measles can result in devastating effects however there are some members of our community including those too young to be vaccinated and those who are unable to be protected due to illness or disease who are put at an increased risk unnecessarily due to those living around them not being up to date with their vaccinations. The vaccination is offered for free either via your GP (school year 6 and below) or school immunisation team (school years 7 to 13).”

Wholeheartedly agreeing on the importance of vaccination and making it a top priority for his own family is NHS Commissioning Support Lead, Fahad Matin who is also a Voluntary Radio Presenter on Inspire FM 105.1 and father of four. Mr Matin explains:
“Having suffered from measles as a child, I know that it is a horrible and painful disease. We are lucky that these sorts of diseases are now preventable and vaccination is the best way to safeguard my children from catching this terrible disease.
“I strongly advise all parents to make sure your children have both doses of the MMR vaccine. If you are unsure or know that you or your children are not fully protected please don’t hesitate to talk to your GP and set up an appointment. We are much better protected when everyone gets vaccinated.”

Did you know that:

• Vaccines save lives - after clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world. Vaccines save lives and promote good health. It’s vital that everyone eligible gets vaccinated.

• Vaccines stop the spread of disease - even with better hygiene, sanitation and access to safe water, infections still exist. When people are not vaccinated, infectious diseases that usually we no longer see can quickly spread.

• Vaccines prevent between 2-3 million deaths globally per year - but, if global vaccination coverage improved, this could increase by 1.5 million.

• Vaccines help fight antimicrobial resistance - vaccination stops humans and animals from getting infected, reducing the use of antibiotics and the development of resistance.

• Vaccines are the only way to eradicate disease - we have eradicated smallpox and are near to eradicating polio, both through using vaccines.

• Vaccines protect you and those around you - if enough people get vaccinated against a disease it makes it harder for the disease to spread. This protects people who can’t get vaccinated, such as new born babies.

• Vaccines protect your children - measles vaccination alone has prevented 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths in the UK.

• The first ever vaccine was developed in 1796 and vaccination in its modern form has been widely available since the 1920s

• In the last 50 years, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical procedure or product

• Polio was eliminated in the UK by 1988 thanks to the polio vaccination

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

1. The latest UK quarterly data and commentary on coverage achieved by the UK childhood immunisation programme is available here
2. NHS Digital has published regional level childhood vaccination uptake data, including an interactive dashboard, that can be accessed here.
3. European Immunization Week (EIW), run by the WHO European Region, promotes the core message that immunisation is vital to prevent diseases and protect life. This year, on 24–30 April 2019, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits of vaccines and to celebrate the “vaccine heroes” who contribute in so many ways to protecting lives through vaccination.
4. For more information on vaccinations visit NHS Choices
5. More information on the childhood schedule is available here
6. More information for parents on what to expect after vaccinations here

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. We do this through world-leading science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. We are an executive agency of the Department of Health, and a distinct delivery organisation with operational autonomy to advise and support government, local authorities and the NHS in a professionally independent manner.

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