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Thousands of Sussex children not vaccinated
Thousands of Sussex toddlers are not properly vaccinated.
Figures from the NHS South of England show that 8% of the county’s two year olds are not properly vaccinated against communicable diseases including measles, mumps and rubella.
A further 2,500 five year olds – 15% of Sussex’s children of that age – are also not properly vaccinated.
Parents are being urged to check their children’s vaccinations are up to date, including booster jabs.
NHS South of England warned that children who did not return for their follow up injections between the age of three years four months and five years, then they would not be protected.
Of the 17,900 two-year-olds in Sussex, just 16,400 had been vaccinated properly.
Of the 17,500 five year olds, 15,000 have been vaccinated properly.
MMR immunisations are given within one month of the child’s first birthday with a second dose before the child starts school.
The NHS only holds figures for the number of unvaccinated children at those ages, but a similar number of children aged three and four are also unvaccinated.
Director of Public Health, Professor Yvonne Doyle said: “It’s easy to miss reminders for the booster injections but it is absolutely vital that children do receive them to ensure they are adequately protected.
"It’s possible that parents may think that there is a defined time period during which their children should be vaccinated and that if that is missed, it is too late.
“While we would encourage people to return for the booster vaccinations when reminded by the doctor or clinic it is important to recognise that it is never too late. When it comes to vaccinations it really is a case of better late than never. Even if your child has missed a vaccination, or is older than the recommended age, it is not too late to be immunised.”
The number of unvaccinated children is of particular concern given a recent outbreak of measles cases in Sussex.
The Health Protection Agency said earlier this week that the Sussex outbreak had lead to the number of cases nationwide doubling.
The latest figures showed there were 320 in the county struck down with the disease so far this year.
Brighton and Hove which has the lowest uptake of the MMR vaccine had by far the highest number of cases in the county – 189 cases this year.