Health chiefs’ delight with rise in vaccination uptake

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WIGAN is above the national trend for vaccinating children against serious illnesses.

Health chiefs say latest NHS figures show the borough’s vaccination programme is going from strength to strength.

The percentage of youngsters taking up immunisation from measles, mumps and rubella is continuing on an upward trend.

And Wigan’s uptake is higher than the national average and Greater Manchester as a whole.

Locally, the take up of the first MMR dose, which happens when children are aged two, is 96.7 per cent, compared to 93.9 per cent across Greater Manchester.

A booster MMR jab is then administered at five, which 97.2 per cent of Wigan children received, while 96.6 per cent of children in Greater Manchester are immunised.

The target set by government is 95 per cent.

And in all childhood vaccinations which feature on the national immunisation programme – which includes diphtheria, tetanus, polio and meningitis C – the borough has reached the national target levels for the number of children having the course of vaccinations to offer protection from the serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The immunisation programme is a vitally important one as it helps to protect children from these potentially lethal conditions.

“It can sometimes be easy for people to think that because these conditions are very rare now there may not be the need for vaccinations but it is precisely because of this work that it is helping to remove the threat to young people. So I would urge parents to make sure your child has their vaccinations.”

Up take of the MMR jab fall after the now discredited surgeon Dr Andrew Wakefield published a series of alarming claims about the vaccine’s safety in the respected medical journal, The Lancelet.

And a Wigan mum, Jackie Fletcher, went on to form a support group which campaigns against the triple jab vaccination.

She was awarded £90,000 in compensation after a tribunal ruled her son’s severe epilepsy was triggered by the jab.

Robert, now aged 20, suffered the effects after being given the combined MMR jab.

In a six-page judgment, the panel which examined the case said: “The seizure occurred ten days after the vaccination. In our view, this cannot be put down to coincidence.”