Hundreds of Somerset children need booster injections
By abbie_glasto | Monday, September 17, 2012, 13:35
Hundreds of children across Somerset could be starting school without their vaccinations.
A local doctor is urging parents to check if their children need any new or booster injections before the school term is well and truly underway, after statistics were released showing that 14% of five-year-olds in Somerset have not received their MMR vaccination booster.
Children need full protection from highly infectious diseases that affect thousands each year, including measles and mumps.
Dr Caroline Gamlin, Somerset's Director of Public Health, has said that many children are not immune until their second dose of the MMR vaccine:
She said: "Between 5 – 10% of children are not fully immune after the first dose."
"The second dose provides increased protection, with less than 1% of children remaining at risk after having it."
She explained: "It's never too late to make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date. Make sure they have the second dose of MMR vaccine as it is this which provides increased protection.
Measles spreads rapidly and is easily caught, especially within confined school areas as the virus is airborne. Children can catch it by simply breathing in after an infected person coughs or sneezes or even by touching a surface that has been contaminated.
Dr. Gamlin added: "It is vital children receive their booster injections to be adequately protected from communicable diseases. Even if your child has missed a vaccination, or is older than the recommended age, it is not too late.
"If you are unsure if your child has had two doses of the vaccination, speak to your GP who will have a record of which vaccinations your child has received."