UKHSA warns parents not to miss children’s vaccinations
The following is an excerpt. Find full press release here :
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging parents and guardians to ensure their children are up to date with all their routine childhood immunisations including polio and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations. This comes as new data shows vaccination coverage for young children fell last year for virtually all programmes.
Vaccination rates have fallen over several years and additional disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, beginning in March 2020, is likely to have caused some of the decreases in vaccine coverage seen in 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022 compared to earlier years.
It is important vaccination coverage is recovered as soon as possible to levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 95% for all childhood immunisation programmes to help prevent the spread of avoidable serious – and sometimes deadly – diseases such as measles and polio.
Since the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1968 it is estimated that 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths have been prevented in the UK.
Measles is highly contagious so even a small decline in MMR uptake can lead to a rise in cases. Since international travel has resumed closer to pre-pandemic levels, it is more likely that measles will be brought in from countries that have higher levels of the disease and cause outbreaks.
Measles can lead to complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain which require hospitalisation and on rare occasions can lead to long term disability or death.
The NHS is running a MMR catch-up campaign so some parents may be contacted directly.