Campaign calls for parents in Portsmouth to ensure children are vaccinated

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PARENTS are being called upon to make sure their children have their vaccinations as part of a new campaign.

Today marks the start of the World Health Organisation’s World Immunisation Week.

While the majority of parents are ensuring their child is fully vaccinated, many children are still missing doses, putting them at risk.

Nigel Acheson

The organisation is urging parents and carers to check their child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, protecting them against diseases and helping to prevent outbreaks.

Figures from Public Health England show in Portsmouth 91 per cent of children have received both doses of their measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations. This means 240 children are not protected.

But the local authority has more youngsters protected compared with other council areas such as the Isle of Wight (84 per cent), Hampshire (89 per cent) and Bournemouth (89 per cent).

Similarly, 88 per cent of eligible children had their four-in-one pre-school booster, leaving more than 300 children not fully protected against the risk of diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough.

This figure was higher than Southampton (85 per cent), the Isle of Wight (83 per cent) and Bournemouth (83 per cent).

Public Health England say early childhood vaccinations are vitally important as they help to build immunity and protecting a child against a host of serious diseases.

They add successful vaccination programmes have helped to make such diseases much rarer but they are still in circulation and if vaccination levels fall, the likelihood of an outbreak is increased.

Dr Jason Horsley, director of public health at Portsmouth City Council said: ‘Vaccination is the most effective and safe way of protecting children against certain illnesses, which is why parents are encouraged to makes sure their children get all of their vaccinations on time.

‘Children can struggle to cope with illness and it can become serious quite quickly, sometimes even proving fatal.

‘Ensuring they are up-to-date with their vaccinations is the most effective way of reducing this risk. By getting your child vaccinated, you are also helping to protect children with immune problems or other issues.’