If you have a four-year-old starting school this autumn, are you sure all their vaccinations are up-to-date?
Hundreds of children in Kent and Medway miss out on the second jab to protect them against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Now NHS Kent and Medway is reminding parents to check that children, especially those starting school this autumn, are fully vaccinated. Dr Faiza Khan, Consultant in Public Health for NHS Kent and Medway, said: “Take-up rates for MMR immunisation in Kent and Medway are higher than the national average but we would like even more children to be protected. "While between 93.1 and 95.6 per cent of children have their first MMR dose by the time they are two, the rate for the second MMR jab, given before the fifth birthday, is between 88.9 and 91.5 per cent. "This is better than the England average of 86.9 per cent but still means around 1,200 children in Kent and 350 in Medway miss out on their second MMR vaccination each year. "It may be that parents are busy and forget about this vaccination or that they do not realise how important it is. "Both doses of the vaccination are needed to give children maximum protection against these serious diseases, and reduce the risk of outbreaks. "Parents will be thinking about everything they need to do to make sure their four-year-olds are ready for that important first day at school. As part of that, we would urge them to ensure they have had all their vaccinations.”
The first MMR immunisation is given within one month of the child’s first birthday. The second dose should be given between the ages of three years and four months and five years, or before the child starts school. Parents of children whose MMR vaccinations are not up-to-date should make an appointment at their GP surgery. Even if your child has missed a vaccination, or is older than the recommended age, it is not too late to be immunised. For more information, please speak to your GP practice or health visiting team.