The pandemic has reminded us how good our scientists are and the way efficient the NHS is at operating life-saving vaccination programmes.
I welcome the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) recommendation that 16 and 17 yr olds be routinely provided the COVID-19 vaccine. We must also be proud and really grateful that, in contrast to many elements of the world, all kids within the UK can get free vaccines to guard them in opposition to a bunch of different severe illnesses, from measles to polio.
For the reason that measles vaccine was first launched in 1968 it’s estimated to have prevented greater than 20 million circumstances and 4,500 deaths within the UK alone.
However in the previous few years, the info exhibits a decline within the variety of kids getting their jabs.
That is vastly regarding as a result of it implies that extra kids are probably weak to severe sickness, rising the prospect of outbreaks.
The latest knowledge exhibits that as of March 2020, roughly 37,500 kids didn’t obtain any dose of MMR by age 5, with an additional 53,500 not receiving a second dose.
There has additionally been a decline within the variety of kids getting their 3-dose course of the Hexavalent vaccine by 6 months of age, which protects in opposition to six severe illnesses together with Tetanus, Diptheria and Hepatitis B.
Our newest surveillance suggests that every yr there are round 40,000 kids unprotected with their 3-dose course by the point they’re 6 months previous.
These declines in vaccine uptake started earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Precisely why this occurred shouldn’t be fully clear and there may have been quite a few elements at play, together with entry to well being providers. Some mother and father nevertheless will merely not pay attention to the vaccinations their little one is entitled to.
On high of those challenges, lockdown restrictions have induced an additional decline. That is regardless of GP clinics remaining open all through and dealing laborious to ship this very important service.
These sicknesses can nonetheless have an effect on kids and trigger extreme sickness. It’s completely very important that oldsters convey their kids to all their routine vaccination appointments and atone for any vaccinations they’ve missed. Vaccinations might be rescheduled and each little one remains to be entitled to their jab, even when they’ve missed an appointment.
Different infectious illnesses past COVID-19 haven’t gone away and it’s important we preserve the best doable uptake to forestall a resurgence of great and generally life-threatening illnesses, notably as restrictions raise, we socialise collectively extra and other people get again to extra regular methods of life.
Our mandatory response to COVID-19 and the disruption to schooling and kids’s social growth has had a devastating impression on younger folks.
We are able to begin to put a few of that proper by making certain that no little one is left behind in our safety of their well being and that each little one will get the perfect begin in life – and that begins with their vaccine safety in opposition to these disagreeable and generally severe illnesses.
All kids who’ve missed out on their routine vaccinations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic stay eligible for his or her vaccines. Dad and mom can converse to their GP to search out out about any vaccines that they might have missed.
As chief government officer of the UK Well being Safety Company, I can guarantee you that we’ll be working flat out with the NHS to steer our routine and seasonal vaccination programmes from power to power – to forestall outbreaks of great illness and save lives.