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WATCH: Hundreds of Cornish children miss 'key' vaccinations

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5:51pm 21st April 2017

Parents in Cornwall are urged to check their child is up to date with important vaccinations - as hundreds of children in the Duchy miss 'key doses'.

It's as World Immunisation Week campaign is set to get underway on Monday.

And while the majority of parents do ensure their child is fully vaccinated, hundreds of children in Cornwall are either missing key doses or have not been vaccinated at all.

According to local figures, in 2016 only 91% of children in Cornwall had received both doses of the MMR jab, meaning 569 were potentially not protected.

Similarly, only 91% of eligible children had received the 4-in-1 pre-school booster, with 585 not fully protected against the risk of diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough.

Doctors say it is likely that these children missed other earlier jabs too.

In contrast, every eligible child on the Isles of Scilly received both vaccinations.

Now, a new campaign will launch on Monday 24th April, asking parents and carers to check that their child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, protecting them from serious diseases and helping to prevent outbreaks.

They say these early childhood vaccinations are vitally important as they help to build immunity, protecting a child against a host of serious diseases such as some strains of meningitis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.

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.

Achieving at least 90% coverage in the local population is the minimum target to prevent infections spreading.

Experts think it is particularly important that a child is up to date with their vaccinations before they start school, as this is when they come into contact with many more potential sources of infection.

 

And doctors insist it isn't too late for children to catch up with their vaccinations, ensuring that they are fully protected.

Nigel Acheson, Medical Director for NHS England South, said: "While the majority of parents are ensuring their child is fully vaccinated, many children are still missing doses, putting them at risk.

"Vaccination protects your child and the wider population from serious diseases and it is vital that they complete all the doses to build up the right levels of protection, particularly before they go to school.

"We know that for busy parents it can be easy to lose track of which jabs your child has had, but it is not too late – speak to your GP surgery to check if your child is up-to-date with their jabs and make sure your child is protected".

Worried parents are advised to speak with their GP surgery.

5:51pm 21st April 2017

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