Protect your child from fatal viruses

Parents are being urged to give the MMR vaccine to their child
Parents are being urged to give the MMR vaccine to their child

ONE in six children in Northamptonshire is still not fully vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella.

Despite a huge push to encourage parents to protect their children, there is still only an 86 per cent take-up of MMR injections in the county.

This means parents are risking their own children catching the viruses – and also endangering unvaccinated babies and those who are unable to be vaccinated because of illnesses like leukaemia.

The World Health Organisation says the immunisation is only effective at halting the spread of the three viruses if 95 per cent of children are vaccinated, but only 86.1 per cent of five-year-olds in the county have had both their initial injection aged one, followed by their booster about three years later.

Although the county is still beating national take-up of the MMR, which stands at about 84.2 per cent, public health bosses have issued a strong reminder to parents of the importance of pre-school boosters. It is essential to complete vaccination courses because some children may not fully respond to previous doses.

Specialist in Public Health at NHS Northamptonshire Marie McLoughlin said: “Every child has the right to receive immunisations against preventable illnesses, so it’s every parent’s responsibility to ensure that their child is protected. These diseases have not gone away, and it’s vital that parents understand the importance of keeping up to date with immunisations. Pre-school boosters are normally given at three years, four months. If you’re not sure about the schedule, discuss this with your Health Visitor, practice nurse or GP.”

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. One person in 5,000 with measles is likely to die. Complications include ear and chest infections, fits, diarrhoea, and brain damage.

Between 2000 and 2005, the number of cases of measles in the county was between six and 10 per year.

But in the wake of falsified research by shamed doctor Andrew Wakefield that linked the triple vaccine to autism, the rates are now at between 20 and 90 cases per year.

Mum Carly Harrison, 26, from Greenhill Rise, Corby, said: “Both my children are vaccinated and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The MMR link to austism has been completely discredited so I can’t understand parents who put their child in harm’s way by not getting them vaccinated.”