Vaccination – why responding to the crisis misses the point

Guest blog by Gail Beer, Director of Operations, 2020health. 2020health are currently working on a research project looking at Vaccination Programmes in the 0-2s. For more information see our website.

On monday morning there was a very interesting interview on the Today programme  on Radio 4 regarding a  successful  vaccination programme underway in Newcastle. The speaker described the response  to  the to the  measles outbreak  which has been affecting parts of the country. The speaker was rightly  very pleased that they had mounted a successful response to this appalling outbreak, but that it just the problem it was a response. Once the  claims that the MMR jab caused autism were  discredited,  Public Health teams  and GPs  across  Britain should have been out there banging the drum  for vaccination.  They should have making sure parents knew  the risks  to their own children ,themselves and other peoples children,  preventing the outbreaks we see today.  Patting ourselves on the back for  responding to a crisis that should have been averted is missing the point. It is  absolutely critical that we get children protected against these   diseases, not only are thy unpleasant for children, but they can be fatal, or can cause   other  health problems.  We have forgotten  how important it is to vaccinate because we do not  see the  consequences of an insufficient vaccination programme, well until now.

There are some areas in the country where  take up rates are  high,  Tower Hamlets  and  Manchester are just two areas that have  managed  very  successful programmes  across very diverse populations., there are many more.   Now that Public Health has moved out of health ,  which is  by and large reactive,    there is the opportunity for it to  go back to its roots  and focus on prevention of ill-health,   and  what a really wonderful place to start by ensuring all our children  are protected against  these  diseases through a proactive and highly publicised  national  vaccination programme.

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