Brighton and Hove’s first ever Immunisation Week is being held across the city from 7 June to promote the local vaccination programme and to encourage parents to have their children immunised against potentially serious illnesses.
The awareness-raising week, run by NHS Brighton and Hove in partnership with the Children & Young People’s Trust, particularly targets parents and follows recent local outbreaks of measles and mumps which caused serious complications for some children.
“It’s vital that people understand the benefits of immunisation and have their children vaccinated,”
said Brighton and Hove’s director of public health Dr Tom Scanlon.
“Babies, children and young people are still catching preventable diseases and, sadly, risk serious and sometimes permanent health consequences. Local immunisation uptake rates are rising, but they need to be higher still to offer the best possible protection to all.”
Across Brighton and Hove, latest validated figures for 2008-09 show that:
Children in this country are protected by one of the best immunisation programmes in the world, which has helped to ensure that many potentially fatal infections, such as diphtheria and polio, have become unusual rather than common occurrences.
New vaccines are also being introduced to increase children and young people’s safety – for example, the recently introduced HPV vaccine for young girls protects against cervical cancer in later life.
Most parents do have their children immunised. However, concerns raised about vaccination such as the MMR can affect immunisation rates, though MMR rates are now rising after concerns that it was linked to bowel disease and autism were discredited by independent experts. Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who triggered the scare, was recently struck off the medical register.
“Our immunisation teams are working hard to increase the uptake of all vaccinations,” said Dr Scanlon.
“We hope that our Immunisation Week will stress to parents the importance of having their children immunised and, if they have concerns, will prompt them to speak to a health professional such as their practice nurse or health visitor so they can make an informed choice.”
Notes to Editors
© Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust