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.