Almost 3,000 children in West Sussex are either missing key doses or have not been vaccinated at all, according to NHS England.
Now, with it being World Health Organisation (WHO) World Immunisation Week, NHS England is urging parents and carers to check their child’s vaccinations are up-to-date in a bid to protect them from serious diseases – such as some strains of meningitis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough – and help to prevent outbreaks.
Dr Max Kammerling, medical consultant in Public Health, Surrey and Sussex Screening and Immunisation Lead, said: “While the majority of parents are ensuring their child is fully vaccinated, many children are still missing doses, putting them at risk and the wider community.
“Vaccination protects your child and the wider population from serious diseases and it is vital that they complete all the doses to build up the right levels of protection, particularly before they go to school.”
Across the county during the last year there were 54 notified infections of mumps and 71 of whooping cough.
Parents are being warned that while successful vaccination programmes have helped to make such diseases much rarer, they are still in circulation and if vaccination levels fall, the likelihood of an outbreak is increased.
While the majority of children are vaccinated, in 2016 only 86 per cent of children from West Sussex had received both doses of the MMR jab, meaning more than 1,300 are potentially not protected.
Similarly, only 81 per cent of eligible children had received the 4-in-1 pre-school booster, with more than 1,600 children not fully protected against the risk of diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough.
NHS England has said it is likely these children missed other earlier jabs too and has warned that achieving at least 90 per cent coverage in the local population is the minimum target to prevent infections spreading.
It is particularly important that a child is up to date with their vaccinations before they start school as this is when they come into contact with many more potential sources of infection.
Dr Kammerling said: “We know that for busy parents it can be easy to lose track of which vaccinations your child has had, but it is not too late – speak to your GP surgery to check if your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations and make sure your child is protected.”