Wigan parents urged to check their child is up-to-date with their vaccines
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The borough has seen a decline in the uptake of childhood vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, a picture which is echoed nationally.
Latest figures show only 88.8 per cent of five-year-olds in Wigan have had both doses of their MMR vaccine – well below the 95 per cent of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target needed to achieve and sustain measles elimination.
Children are offered two doses of the MMR vaccine – the first when they are one-year-old and the second at three years and four months old.
NHS Greater Manchester is urging parents and carers to check that their child is up to date with the MMR vaccine and other childhood immunisations by either looking at their child’s Red Book (personal child health record) or contacting their GP.
Measles, mumps and rubella can have serious health consequences and is one of the world’s most contagious diseases.
One in five people who get measles need to go to hospital, the illness can result in deafness, fits and brain damage.
However, the MMR vaccine is a safe and highly effective way to offer your child, and those around them, protection.
Dr Helen Wall, clinical director for population health, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “It is worrying to see a decline in the number of children getting their vaccinations, with even small drops in the number of people coming forward for vaccination, it's possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.
"Indeed, we have had a confirmed case of measles in Greater Manchester earlier this month.
“We want to take this opportunity to remind parents – vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our children and those around us against ill health. If you think your child has missed a vaccination, please contact your GP to catch up.
“I understand that parents may hesitate to get their child vaccinated because they worry about the safety of the vaccine.
"I want to reassure those parents, that all vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child.
"Children may experience mild side effects such as the area where the needle goes in being sore or being a bit unwell for a couple of days, however, this far outweighs the risk of these, sometimes life-threatening illnesses.”