New campaign for children to catch up with missed vaccinations

Child receiving an injection

Parents and carers are being urged to make sure their children catch-up with missed vaccinations, amid a rising number of measles cases nationally.

Latest statistics show that 12.2% of children in Bedford Borough are not fully protected against measles by their fifth birthday.

A new campaign by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) brings the message home with a powerful video told from the perspective of children and in their voices. “Our generation’s risk of illnesses like measles and whooping cough is rising” they tell their parents and carers looking straight into camera - “If we’re not vaccinated, we’re not protected.”

Councillor Martin Towler, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, urged parents and carers to ensure their children received vaccinations.

He said; “Uptake of childhood vaccinations has fallen nationally over the last decade.

“That includes whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, meningitis, and diphtheria. These are serious illnesses that can require hospital treatment and, in a small number of cases, can sadly cause death. The vaccines are very safe and highly effective. As a father and a grandfather, I want to do everything I can to protect families – and that includes encouraging as many people as possible to be vaccinated. 

“England no longer has the levels of population immunity recommended by the World Health Organisation to prevent outbreaks. Getting vaccinated doesn’t just protect you and your family, it protects everyone.”

Dr Victoria Matthews, Consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA East said; “We need to urgently reverse the decline in the uptake of childhood vaccinations to protect our communities. We are appealing to parents and carers to check their children’s vaccination status and book appointments if their children have missed any immunisations. The national measles outbreak we are seeing is a reminder of the very present threat.

“While the majority of children are protected, there are still high numbers in some areas who are unprotected from preventable diseases. It is not just their own health that can suffer, but other unvaccinated people around them such as school friends, family and those in their community could also experience serious infections.

“Unless uptake improves, we will start to see the diseases that these vaccines protect against re-emerging and causing more serious illness.”

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