Your chance to catch up with routine immunisations over the Easter holidays

Child receiving an injection

Parents of school-aged children who have not received all their routine immunisations have been urged to attend a series of catch-up sessions during the Easter holidays, as dates have been announced for venues across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

A clinic will be held at St Mark’s Church, in Calder Rise, Bedford, on Tuesday 9 April. Booking is essential so call 0300 790 0594.

There will also be clinics in Central Bedfordshire, on Friday 5 April at Downside Community Centre, Suffolk Road, Dunstable, and on Friday 12 April next to Limetree Academy, Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis.

And in Milton Keynes there will be clinics on Thursday 4 April at Giffard Park Community Centre, Broadway Avenue, and on Thursday 11 April at Giffard Park Community Centre, Broadway Avenue.

Places at these clinics must also be booked in advance by calling 0300 790 0594.

Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine for full protection against measles, mumps and rubella infections. The first dose is offered around their first birthday, and the second at around the age of three years and four months. Older children, usually from Year 8 onwards, are offered vaccinations against other diseases in school, and if your child has missed this opportunity you can catch up at these clinics this Easter. They will also be offered the MMR vaccine if they haven’t yet had it. 

A spokesperson for Bedford Borough Council said; "MMR vaccination rates in all parts of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are below 95%, and in some areas are as low as 70%. This leaves the region vulnerable to a large-scale measles outbreak, such as those seen recently in both London and the West Midlands. 

“Achieving high vaccination coverage across the population is important as it also indirectly helps protect infants under one year old and other vulnerable groups who cannot be vaccinated.”

They added; “Measles is a serious infection which can cause a very unpleasant illness. It can lead to hospitalisation and other complications and, in rare cases, measles can even be fatal. The risk of complications is higher in groups such as babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity.

“There are lots of reasons why your child may not be up to date on all of their vaccinations. We know that some families couldn’t attend routine appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of those children are now at school or coming up to school age.”

“We also know that families sometimes change their minds so, even if you previously chose not to have your child vaccinated, the opportunity is still there.” 

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