Milton Keynes parents urged to catch up on children’s vaccinations at clinics this Easter

    Parents of children who have not received all of their routine immunisations have been urged to attend a series of catch-up sessions during the Easter holidays, as dates have been announced for venues across Milton Keynes.

    Sessions are due to be held across the local area during the break, with a mix of walk-in slots and bookable appointments available.

    Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine for full protection against the infections. The first dose is offered around their first birthday, and the second at around the age of three years and four months.

    In recent years, the number of children vaccinated against measles has fallen below the 95% target necessary to achieve and maintain elimination.  This gives measles, which can be a very serious disease, a chance to get a foothold in our communities. Achieving high vaccination coverage across the population is important as it also indirectly helps protect infants under one year old and other vulnerable groups who cannot be vaccinated.

    Vaccination rates in all parts of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are below 95%, and in some areas are as low as 70%. This leaves the region vulnerable to a large-scale measles outbreak, such as those seen recently in both London and the West Midlands.

    Older children, usually from Year 8 onwards, are offered vaccinations against other diseases which are also available at the clinics this Easter.

    Dr Sarah Whiteman, Chief Medical Director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

    “Measles is a serious infection which can cause a very unpleasant illness.  It can lead to hospitalisation and other complications and, in rare cases, measles can even be fatal.  The risk of complications is higher in groups such as babies and young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immunity.

    “There are lots of reasons why your child may not be up to date on all of their vaccinations.  We know that some families couldn’t attend routine appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of those children are now at school or coming up to school age.

    “We also know that families sometimes change their minds so, even if you previously chose not to have your child vaccinated, the opportunity is still there.

    “We are seeing increased demand for the jabs at the moment.  Many parents realise that the time to catch up on missing vaccinations is now, before the cases we’ve seen in other parts of England are repeated in our area, and this is a very sensible approach which I welcome.  I hope others will follow suit this Easter.

    “For older children and teenagers, there’s also the opportunity to catch up on other vaccinations.  A range of jabs will be offered at the clinics, including diphtheria/ tetanus/polio (sometimes called DTP), meningitis (MenACWY) and human papillomavirus (HPV); if you’re attending one of the pre-booked sessions, please confirm that your required immunisations are available.”

    Most healthy adults will have developed some immunity to measles but can still receive two doses of the vaccine.  Although the sessions have been planned for the Easter school holiday, they are open to anyone of any age who wishes to bring their vaccinations up to date.

     

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