Parents across London are being urged to ensure their children are up to date with their routine immunisations, particularly for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) and polio.
Poliovirus has been detected in the sewage in parts of London, and while there have been no confirmed cases, those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are at greatest risk. With low vaccination rates for MMR in some parts of the capital, there are also concerns about the increased risk of an outbreak of measles mumps or rubella (German measles), which could lead to serious illnesses including meningitis and pneumonia.
Vaccination rates have fallen in London, in part as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns which led to missed appointments. A high level of vaccine uptake is essential to keep everyone safe by reducing the spread of disease and risk of larger outbreaks which could severely affect children’s health.
Some children may have missed their routine vaccinations over the last few years, increasing the risk of preventable diseases, but it’s not too late to catch up. The NHS is urging parents to make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:
“It’s concerning that vaccination rates for children have fallen since the pandemic. These vaccinations help to keep children safe and protected from serious illnesses such as mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) and polio, and that’s why I’m urging all parents to check that their children are fully up to date with routine immunisations as soon as possible.”
The NHS is also working closely with schools, GPs and community groups for their support in encouraging the take-up of immunisations, particularly among communities where vaccination levels are lower than average.
Regional Chief Nurse Jane Clegg said:
“It is really important that children are up to date with all vaccinations to maintain immunity. For example, since the MMR vaccine was introduced 35 years ago, cases of measles, mumps and rubella have become rare in the UK, and we haven’t seen a live case of polio since 1984”.
Parents should check their child’s health record (red book) to see if they are up to date on all their routine immunisations. The full list of routine vaccinations is available at nhs.uk/child-vaccines
For more information on getting your child vaccinated see: Vaccination tips for parents – NHS (www.nhs.uk)