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118 Shropshire babies placed at risk as they miss out on vital vaccinations

By Megan Archer | Health | Published:

Parents were today urged to get their babies vaccinated after it was revealed almost 120 children across Shropshire are not protected.

Figures from Public Health England show the percentage of children having jabs in the county is above the national average.

But it says there are still 118 babies at risk of serious infections including polio, whooping cough and diphtheria.

It comes amid demands from experts for more stringent rules to compel parents to allow their children to be immunised.

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Dr Doug Brown of the British Society for Immunology said: “Low levels of vaccination coverage matter as it means these diseases have the potential to spread within our communities, infecting unvaccinated people. Young babies and people with compromised immune systems particularly at risk.”

More than 100 babies in Shropshire have missed out on important vaccinations meant to protect them from potentially serious illnesses, figures reveal.

The British Society for Immunology has urged the new government to deliver on its promise to develop the UK’s first vaccine strategy to protect communities against “nasty diseases”.

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Young children should get the so-called six-in-one jab, which protects against six serious infections including polio, whooping cough and diphtheria, in the first few months of their lives.

Although a cause for concern, Shropshire did manage to match the 95 per cent target set out by the World Health Organisation in order to prevent widespread outbreaks.

Missed

Public Health England data shows that 70 children in the Shropshire Council area who had their first birthday in the six months to September missed out on the vaccination. The uptake in the area was 95 per cent.

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In Telford & Wrekin, 48 children missed the jab, but the uptake was 95.5 per cent.

Both authority areas of Shropshire performed better than the wider West Midlands.

The uptake rate in the region as a whole over the period was 92.1 per cent – the second-lowest of any region in the country. In some areas like Wolverhampton the take-up figure fell below 90 per cent.

The British Society for Immunology said the uptake rate across England for the six-in-one vaccine among one year olds has been below the 95 per cent target for the past year.

“Low levels of vaccination coverage matter as it means these diseases have the potential to spread within our communities, infecting unvaccinated people, with young babies and people with compromised immune systems particularly at risk,” said Dr Doug Brown, the group’s chief executive.

“We urge the new government to deliver on its promise to develop the UK’s first vaccine strategy and to fully fund immunisation services to ensure our communities are protected against these preventable diseases.”

But he also urged parents to make sure their children get the jabs – and to seek medical advice if they have concerns.

He added: “Anyone worried their child hasn’t received all the doses should make an appointment at their GP.”

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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