EASTBOURNE parents are being reminded of the importance of ensuring their children’s vaccinations are up to date.
The percentage of children who do not return for booster vaccinations has fallen by approximately six per cent resulting in more than 8,000 children around the age of five without the required level of protection.
With prepararations for the start of a new school year nearly complete, parents are being urged to check their children’s vaccination record to ensure they are protected against communicable diseases including measles, mumps and rubella – the MMR vaccination.
The first MMR immunisation is given within one month of the child’s first birthday with second dose scheduled to be given between the ages of three years, four months and five years, or before the child starts school.
The measles virus spreads very easily and is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It is caused by breathing in these droplets or by simply touching a surface that has been contaminated with the droplets and then placing your hands near your nose or mouth.
Director of Public Health Professor Yvonne Doyle said, “It’s easy to miss reminders for the booster injections but absolutely vital that children do receive them to ensure they are adequately protected.
“It’s possible parents may think there is a defined time period during which their children should be vaccinated and if that is missed, it is too late. While we encourage people to return for the booster vaccinations when reminded by the doctor or clinic it is important to recognise that it is never too late.
“When it comes to vaccinations it really is a case of better late than never.
“Even if your child has missed a vaccination, or is older than the recommended age, it is not too late to be immunised.”
Parents of children whose MMR vaccinations are not up-to-date should make an appointment at their GP surgery.