Childhood vaccinations – is your family up to date?
With the summer break upon us, now is the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date with their vaccinations. Vaccines help our immune system to make antibodies and special cells to get rid of a specific virus without us getting ill. Our immune system then remembers this virus and knows what to do when we come into contact with it in future.
All NHS vaccines are rigorously tested and protect millions of people from illnesses that could have serious, life-changing consequences. Alongside the 6-in-1 vaccine, which protects against illnesses including diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough, babies are offered vaccinations against rotavirus, a highly infectious stomach bug, and meningococcal group B bacteria which can cause meningitis and sepsis, also known as blood poisoning.
For some vaccines, booster doses are needed to help people to develop strong immunity against specific illnesses. For protection that will last a long time, it's important to have all doses of a vaccine that are offered.
Parents and guardians can look at their child's red book or ask their GP practice if their child is up-to-date with routine vaccinations.
Dr Farzana Hussain, mum of two and a GP in East London says: "The NHS wants to help parents protect their children against serious illnesses. If your child has missed any routine vaccinations, such as those given to babies or before starting school, like the MMR to protect against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, talk to your GP practice or health visitor as soon as you can. We'll answer any questions you have and help you to get your child vaccinated."
Everyone aged five and over can now also be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is just one more vaccine children can have to protect them from illness.
Find out more about children's vaccinations on the NHS and UKSHA websites.