Children should have their medical records checked before they start school to see if they have had vaccinations for MMR and other illnesses, health experts have advised.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said health visitors should contact parents to encourage them to make sure their children have all the appropriate jabs.
Vaccine checks are advised to be carried out when a child joins nursery, playgroup or primary school. It’s estimated that 1.3 million children aged between 2 and 17 are at risk of contracting measles because they haven’t had the recommended jab.
Children are advised to have jabs against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough, meningitis, pneumonia, measles, mumps and rubella by the time they are due to begin school, to drop the risk of spreading it to their classmates. They are also advised to undergo the checks to decrease the risk of swine flu being spread.
However, Jackie Fletcher from the campaign groups Jabs said, “This will put extra pressure on parents that they could do without, particularly because we don’t have compulsory vaccinations in this country.”
Yet NICE have stated that parents have a choice to vaccinate their child or not, “The new Nice guidance recommends that immunisation records of children should be checked. If they are not up-to-date with their vaccinations, school nursing teams should explain to parents why immunisation is important for children’s health, but there is no recommendation to implement compulsory vaccinations.”