Wirral parents are being encouraged to ensure that they and their children are up to date with life-saving vaccinations during the summer holidays.
While vaccine coverage in Wirral remains above the north west average, children’s vaccine uptake has been slowly decreasing. Although the drop is small, it doesn’t take much of a decline in the number of children and young people vaccinated in a community for highly infectious diseases such as measles to spread easily and cause outbreaks.
Residents will be reminded throughout August of the importance of being up to date with immunisations, especially when travelling during the summer holidays, attending large-scale events or before entering the new school year.
Public Health England’s, ‘Value of Vaccines’ campaign, seeks to raise awareness of the life-saving nature of vaccines.
Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “It's vital that Wirral residents are protected by immunisations, from a young age, to minimise their risk of contracting a disease or illness.
“When it comes to travelling or attending a festival, where there is increased risk of contracting such diseases, anyone who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine is at risk.
“After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world. Put simply, vaccines save lives. It’s vital that everyone eligible gets vaccinated.”
High coverage (95%) of vaccination is a fundamental necessity to protecting people from vaccine preventable diseases.
Dr Paula Cowan, Chair of Wirral CCG and local GP, said: "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.
“In the UK we have a world-leading vaccination programme with vaccine uptake rates in England, and Wirral included, currently among the highest in Europe.
"However, we are still seeing outbreaks of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. It’s never too late to get your MMR vaccine, call your GP practice and catch-up."
A range of routine vaccinations are offered free of charge on the NHS. To find out if you're up to date with your vaccinations, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/
Throughout the summer, Wirral’s Public Health team will be sharing messages and information about vaccines and immunisation. You can keep up to date by following @StayWellWirral on social media.
According to latest figures from Public Health England, coverage for the pentavalent primary immunisation by 12 months stands at 95.7% in Wirral, while the percentage of children in Wirral immunised with 2 doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) by their 5th birthday is 93.8%.
The DTaP/IPV/Hib (pentavalent) vaccine protects against five different diseases – diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
The pentavalent vaccine was replaced from autumn 2017 by the DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB (hexavalent) vaccine which also protects against hepatitis B.