Hartlepool parents warned over baby vaccines
Parents are being urged to get their babies vaccinated, as experts fear outbreaks of a range of illnesses could follow the lifting of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
The call comes after new figures show baby vaccination targets have been exceeded in Hartlepool – but some youngsters have missed their first potentially life-saving vaccines.
By a child's first birthday, they should have received a series of vaccinations to protect them against potentially fatal diseases – including diptheria, polio and whooping cough.
Public Health England (PHE) data shows 96.4% of children in Hartlepool who turned one between January and March had those jabs on time.
This is ahead of the 95% target and up from 95.7% the year before but suggests up to nine eligible babies missed their initial immunisations.
Children should also receive a jab to protect them against measles, mumps and rubella before the age of two.
Figures show there has been a 0.5% increase in the proportion of toddlers receiving their MMR vaccines in Hartlepool to 93.3% – below the 95% target
The Royal Society of Public Health say the “stay at home” message during lockdowns may have deterred parents from taking their children for jabs.
Public Health England said the drop in vaccination raised fears of potential disease outbreaks after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
Head of immunisation, Dr Mary Ramsay, said: "It is vital that children attend routine vaccination appointments and catch up on any vaccinations they have missed to prevent a resurgence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the Government is committed to improving uptake.