Monday 18 December 2017

Children put at risk from not getting all of their vaccines

Some parents are still failing to ensure their children get the full range of vaccines available
Some parents are still failing to ensure their children get the full range of vaccines available

Eilish O'Regan, Health Correspondent

MANY parents are still failing to ensure their child gets a full set of injections to protect against disease despite vaccinations levels reaching a record high.

The vaccines protect against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, septicaemia, polio and hepatitis B.

A HSE report found that just 86pc – 91pc of children – are vaccinated with the jab to protect against Hib, a form of meningitis, after 12 months.

Figures are also below par for the take-up of the pnemococcal conjugate vaccine, protecting against meningitis and septicaemia and the meningitis C injection at that age.

Parents may believe they are protected, but failure to get the full set of vaccines means the child is at increased risk of contracting the disease, even though they have had some earlier jabs.

The report highlights a significant improvement in the take-up of the MMR vaccine which protects against measles. At two about 93pc have had the jab. Children should also receive vaccines when they start school, including a booster dose of four-in-one to guard against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio as well as another MMR jab.

According to the report, 90pc of these children received the four-in-one vaccine and 89pc got the additional dose of the MMR injection.

The figures show that at "12 months of age 92pc of Irish children are appropriately vaccinated". This means they have had the recommended three doses of the six-in-one vaccine.

"At 24 months of age 96pc of Irish children are appropriately vaccinated with the six in one vaccine. However, some children are missing out on other vaccines at this age."

Dr Suzanne Cotter,of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: "It is welcome that more children than ever are now vaccinated. It is still important to remind parents children need to fully complete the childhood immunisation schedule.

"Some children, teenagers, and adults may still be vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases because they were never vaccinated, incompletely vaccinated or have lost their immunity as a result of age, or illness, or duration of time that has elapsed since their immunisation."

Irish Independent

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