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Being Aware of Immunisations and Vaccinations

Immunisation saves lives

The World Health Organisation estimates that 3 million lives are saved every year worldwide through immunisation, although we will never know which individuals are alive because they were immunised as children.

However, globally there is a huge amount still to do - 400,000 children still die every year from measles alone, when a safe effective vaccine has been available for over 30 years.

It is important that all children and babies are immunised

One common illnesses such as diphtheria and tetanus are now rare because of immunisation. While polio was declared eliminated in Europe in 2002 through immunisation, the threat of other diseases such as measles and meningitis have not gone away in the UK today.

The risks of vaccination are very small compared to the risks of getting the diseases themselves

Some parents are put off vaccination by claims they hear and read in the press about the risks of some vaccines. In the 1970's a vaccine scare in the UK resulted in a fall in whooping cough immunisation which led to over 100,000 cases of whooping cough and an estimated 100 deaths in the years which followed, with large numbers permanently brain damaged by the disease.

The study set up to investigate the risk later reported that acute reactions did occur, but full recovery was usual, and there was insufficient evidence to say DTP increased the overall risk of long-term damage.

Today, while the theory that MMR and autism are linked is thoroughly discredited by a huge volume of research evidence, this message has not yet got through to a minority.

Deferring vaccination in a child without clinical contraindications carries risks of disease which are far greater than the risk of immunising

Like everything in life the decision to immunise is a balance of risks, but routine childhood immunisation saves lives. 

ASK

"Are you / your child up to date with your immunisations?"

ADVISE

  • Keeping up to date with your immunisations is a quick, safe way of protecting you, your family and your friends from serious diseases
  • Immunisations are available to protect against a wide variety of serious illnesses in children and adults including measles, flu, whooping cough, cervical cancer and meningitis.
ACT

Signpost the client to the:

  • GP Surgery to find out if up to date and/or to arrange any immunisations. NHS flu vaccination is available from many community pharmacies too
  • NHS Direct Wales website for information on what immunisations are needed and when: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/DoItYourself/vaccinations

 

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