Too many young children are missing out on the vital protection they need

Michelle Rhodes, Head of Clinical Standards at MASTA, reacts to the news that an increased number of children are missing out on routine vaccines.

I was alarmed to see in the news recently, that the number of children missing out on routine vaccinations is rising. This means that even more young people are left unprotected from common viruses and diseases that would otherwise be preventable.

The most recent NHS data shows that the number of MMR vaccinations in the UK, fell from 92.1% to just 90.03%. Something needs to be done to arrest this slide. It might just look like numbers on a page today, but as more people miss out on their jabs, they are left exposed and at risk of developing diseases. This could potentially put further strain on our health service and increase the risks for people with low immunity.

This trend is particularly concerning and it’s clear that more needs to be done to educate the public about the importance of vaccinations. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the situation was “unacceptable”. He said: “Everyone has a role to play in halting this decline.”

As a healthcare provider, with expertise in vaccinations, we want to be at the forefront of this. Through our MASTA business we have a great track record in delivering travel and health vaccinations for thousands of people up and down the country. So, we understand the size of the challenge.

From speaking to patients we recognise that there are some common misconceptions and myths about the dangers of certain vaccines. This is something that needs to change and education is key. That’s why we are right behind the World Health Organisation’s on-going awareness campaign, designed to tackle the growing hesitancy toward immunisation programmes.

We also shouldn’t ignore that in many cases, the reason that some children are missing routine vaccinations is because of the busy lifestyles of their parents. These stats indicate that some people have lost sight of the importance of getting young people vaccinated.

You can see how it might be tempting to put off visiting your local clinic, especially if you’ve been exposed to indifference or even negativity about the value of vaccines. There is more to be done to counter this issue, starting with building peoples’ awareness and understanding.

The goal for us as a society should be to achieve ‘herd immunity’ which means we need to reach vaccination levels of 95%. This will make it difficult for infectious diseases to spread within communities and will help people with lower immunity levels to avoid getting infected.

When it comes to protecting ourselves and our children from serious diseases, prevention beats cure every single time and MASTA have a pivotal role to play in communicating this message.