Director of Public Health urges parents and carers to get children immunised before starting school
Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health for West Sussex, is encouraging parents and carers to protect their children from preventable illnesses by making sure their childhood immunisations are up to date before they start school.
A new campaign will launch on 1 June across West Sussex to increase awareness of the importance of childhood immunisation and remind parents and carers that it’s never too late to catch up on missed vaccinations.
Alison Challenger said: “Immunisation is the best defence against diseases, including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
“Every child deserves the best start in life. Vaccines protect your child, yourself, and other members of your family from a range of unpleasant and often serious childhood diseases.
“Recent figures released by the UK Health Security Agency have shown a national rise in cases of measles, an infection that spreads easily and can cause serious problems in some people. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it. I am encouraging all parents and carers to make sure their children are up to date with all their vaccinations, including their MMR vaccine, before they start school.”
Cllr Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at West Sussex County Council, said: “Although we have good rates of coverage of immunisation in under 5s across West Sussex we must not be complacent. We want to help parents understand the benefits of childhood immunisation, and why we need to keep up to date with vaccinations to continue to protect our children, families, and local population. We are working closely with our colleagues in the NHS, districts, boroughs and communities, to deliver this important campaign.”
Many childhood vaccines are given more than once, at different ages and in different combinations. Ensuring your child has their vaccinations at the right time gives them the best protection, but it is possible to catch up on any vaccinations your child has missed.
Every child is still entitled to their jab, even if they have missed an appointment, which can be rescheduled.
Vaccinations are offered free of charge in the UK. You can call your GP to book an appointment.
If you are not sure whether your child has had all their vaccines for their age, you can:
- Check your child’s RED BOOK
- Ask your health visitor
- Contact your GP practice
To make sure they have the best protection your child should ideally have their routine jabs in line with the UK Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
Visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/childhood-immunisations to find out more about childhood vaccinations.