Parents must ensure children have routine jabs

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HEALTH chiefs in South Yorkshire have stressed the importance of giving babies and children routine vaccinations as the latest uptake figures were revealed.

Statistics for 2010/11 show 91.3 per cent of children under two were given the MMR jab against measles, mumps and rubella in Sheffield.

Barnsley had the highest uptake rate at 92.6 per cent, while in Rotherham 91.8 per cent of children had been vaccinated.

In Doncaster the figures only relate to the first three months of this year and for MMR stands at 91.1 per cent.

There was a slightly better uptake of the diphtheria vaccination in babies aged one and under.

In Sheffield 94.2 per cent of children in the same age group had received the jab, in Rotherham the figure was 96 per cent, in Barnsley 96.2 per cent and in Doncaster 95.8 per cent.

The number of two-year-olds vaccinated against meningitis reveals a similar picture.

In Sheffield 94.1 per cent received the jab, in Rotherham 95.4 per cent, in Barnsley 98.2 per cent and in Doncaster 95.8 per cent.

Generally there was less uptake of the booster injections given before children start school – with an uptake rate of 86.3 per cent in Sheffield, 90.8 per cent in Rotherham and 89.6 per cent in Doncaster – although Barnsley’s percentage still stood at 94.7.

The World Health Organisation recommends an uptake rate of 95 per cent for all vaccinations, meaning Sheffield failed to meet the target in all areas, while Barnsley met every one except the number of children under two to have received the MMR jab.

Sarah Mayfield, Public Health at NHS Sheffield, said: “We are really pleased that many parents and carers are recognising the importance of childhood immunisations and ensuring their children receive the vaccinations.

“We are all working hard to raise awareness and ensure all children have their vaccinations.

“It is particularly important at this time of year when families are taking holidays in Europe that children are protected and have received their MMR vaccination, given the recent outbreaks of measles in some European countries.

“We recommend parents and carers contact their GP to make an appointment for any missed immunisations to be given.”