Health matters

Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.
Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.
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As we continue our series of regular health columns by NHS Derbyshire County, Julie Hirst, public health specialist for the trust, including Buxton and the High Peak looks at the latest childhood vaccination figures for the county.

More children than ever are being protected against serious diseases, with uptake of child vaccines in Derbyshire at its highest in recent years.

GPs across Derbyshire have once again recorded high levels of success with their childhood vaccination programme.

Annual figures released by NHS Derbyshire County show that on average over nine out of ten children living in Derbyshire are now vaccinated against MMR by the age of two years. The number of children having their preschool boosters, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and MMR, is also at a record high – with 93 per cent having this jab by the age of five.

They also beat challenging Department of Health targets in key areas, vaccinating 97 per cent of one-year-olds against diphtheria and 96 per cent of two-year-olds against meningitis C.

Child vaccines are also crucial for a child’s health and wellbeing and to prevent the onset of serious illness, and recent increases in measles cases across Europe and the UK show we cannot be complacent. So, if your child is not fully vaccinated, you should contact your GP or health visitor for more advice.

The childhood vaccination programme starts from two months of age and ends at 18, so it is important to check that young people are also protected.

One of the most important things that a parent can do for their child is to make sure that they have all their routine childhood vaccinations. It’s the most effective way of keeping them protected against infectious diseases.

Ideally, children should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection.

A checklist for anyone needing help planning for childhood vaccines can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/vaccinations/Pages/Vaccinationchecklist.aspx

People who fall into certain risk groups may be offered extra vaccines. These include vaccinations against diseases such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis (TB), seasonal flu and chickenpox. There are also optional vaccines that you may be able to have free on the NHS from your local surgery, including travel vaccinations, such as hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera.

So, if you’re not sure whether you or your child have had all your vaccinations, ask your GP or practice nurse as soon as possible and make sure you and your family are fully protected.