Parents and carers of children in the Black Country are being reminded of the importance of routine childhood vaccinations.
Childhood vaccinations are safe and effective and are essential for the prevention of several serious diseases.
In the UK, the childhood vaccination programme is highly successful and has resulted in many common and sometimes fatal diseases, such as measles and polio, becoming rare. These infectious diseases, however, have not gone away.
The following vaccines are routinely offered to all children aged 2 months to 16 years:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: Protects against HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical, anal, and other types of cancers. The vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 13.
- DTP Vaccine: Provides protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). These diseases can cause severe complications and even death. The DTP vaccine is typically administered in several doses throughout childhood.
- MMR Vaccine: Protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles, in particular, is highly contagious and can lead to serious complications. The MMR vaccine is usually given in two doses, with the first dose administered around the age of 12-15 months and the second dose between 4-6 years.
- Meningitis Vaccine: Guards against meningococcal disease, a severe infection that can cause meningitis and blood poisoning. The vaccine is recommended for adolescents and young adults, particularly those starting university or college.
Dr Fiona Rose, local GP and Clinical Director for Quality and Safety for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “Routine vaccinations play a huge part in protecting you, your child, and the community against a range of unpleasant and often serious childhood diseases.
“It’s understandable that parents may be worried about getting their child vaccinated, however childhood vaccines are safe and effective and offer the best protection for children. That’s why we’re encouraging all parents and carers to ensure their children are up to date with all their vaccinations.
“It's best to have vaccines on time, but you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them. So, if you think your child is due or has missed a vaccination, contact your GP practice.”