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'Protect your children against disease this summer' vaccines plea from paediatric specialist

April 24, 2023

Parents planning summer holidays should make sure their children are protected against serious disease before they travel, an immunisation specialist has said.

Dr Siân Owen said cases of measles had risen throughout Europe in recent years – and urged parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with routine vaccinations.

She echoed a warning from the World Health Organisation this World Immunisation Week.

“Thankfully, many potentially serious illnesses that were common in the past are now very rare in the UK because of the routine vaccines offered to all babies and young children,” said Dr Owen, an associate specialist in community paediatrics and Betsi Cadwaladr lead doctor for immunisation.

“But we can’t take this protection for granted. We need as many children in North Wales as possible to have these vaccines to help protect them from becoming unwell and to prevent diseases spreading in the wider community.

“Children who are not protected, or who are not fully up-to-date with their vaccinations, could be vulnerable to contagious illnesses like measles, diphtheria or mumps if these begin to circulate.

“As we look forward to a more normal summer holiday season following the COVID-19 pandemic, parents should take this chance to catch up with any routine vaccinations their children may have missed. This is especially important as we socialise and travel more widely.

“Please make vaccinating your child a priority. It’s completely free and it could be the most important thing you do this summer.”

You child’s vaccinations should be recorded in their red book – or you can speak to your health visitor or practice nurse about what vaccinations they need.

Across North Wales, thousands of children aged four and under receive their vaccinations each year. Vaccines help boost a child’s defences against disease and are rigorously tested, safe and effective.

It’s best to take up your child’s vaccinations when you are invited, but it’s never too late to catch up.

World Immunisation Week runs from April 24 to 30 and highlights how we can increase our protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. This year’s theme is The Big Catch Up, encouraging parents to make sure their children have received all the recommended doses of routine childhood vaccinations following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information about routine childhood vaccinations is available here.

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