The Importance of Childhood Vaccinations: Protecting Your children From Serious Disease
Becoming a parent is a steep learning curve – we often learn on our feet without much time to plan ahead.
While we might not always have the opportunity to be forward thinking, we all want to make time to keep our children safe from harm. Vaccinations are a crucial way of protecting our children – from infancy through to adulthood.
We recognise it might seem overwhelming to think about childhood vaccinations when you’re busy with family life so we’ve created this handy guide to give you the information needed to keep your little ones safe.
What are vaccines?
Vaccinations, sometimes called immunisations or jabs, prevent children from picking up serious disease. Babies and children are immunised so that they are better prepared to fight illnesses early on in life.
A vaccine can be made up of either:
- a dead or weakened version of the disease
- part of the germ that causes the disease.
When children are immunised, they are exposed to the disease in its safe, vaccine form. This gives their immune system the opportunity to build up antibodies (or resistance) to illness. Children are germ fighters, even from a young age, and immunisation means that they will be able to protect themselves if they are exposed to harmful disease.
Why are childhood vaccinations important?
Vaccinations save lives because they work. Globally, childhood vaccinations save around three million lives a year. Successful immunisation programmes in the UK have seen the reduction of once common diseases such as polio, tetanus and measles – to the point they are now classed as rare.
There are still some nasty diseases and infections out there though. With vaccination programmes being so successful, we are prone to forgetting that they lurk. Babies and young children are much more vulnerable to infection. Because of this all babies can access the childhood vaccination programme: a series of immunisations that are offered between the age of eight weeks and six years.
Some vaccines, such as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) require multiple doses to ensure that children are fully protected over time. These doses work more effectively if they are given at intervals.
What diseases do childhood vaccinations protect against?
It is possible to vaccinate children against:
- hepatitis B
- whooping cough
- meningococcal diseases
You may have heard of none, some or all of these diseases. The reasons they may be little known is down to the success of vaccination programs that see most babies immunised. They are referred to as vaccine preventable diseases – meaning that once a child has been immunised they are protected from potentially life threatening complications associated with these illnesses.
What about the side effects of vaccines?
All vaccines come with potential side effects. These may include:
- a small red and sore mark at the injection site
- loss of appetite
- high temperature
It’s natural to turn away from anything we think might make our children feel unwell – but the possible side effects of a vaccination are short lived. Exposure to the likes of polio, measles, mumps or rubella without vaccine protection can lead to long-term health problems, or even death.
Do I really need to get my child vaccinated?
WHO (World Health Organisation) maintains that vaccine hesitancy is the biggest threat to global health.
Typically, in the UK, there is a high take-up of childhood vaccines. Generally, around 90% of babies and children are receiving their vaccinations. This keeps the prevalence of disease low. Should immunisation rates increase to around 95%, we could entirely eradicate life changing diseases such as measles.
However, according to the NHS, vaccine hesitancy has led to an increase in cases of measles and mumps in recent years. What’s worrying about this is the fact that measles can lead to meningitis and mumps, hearing loss and other long-term health implications.
If you’ve been undecided about childhood vaccinations and are now looking to start the immunisation program, we can help. Or, if you’ve simply found with the pressures of lockdowns and COVID related complications that you have missed scheduled vaccinations, we’re here to offer you support, advice and vaccination doses too.
It’s never too late to get your baby immunised.
Where can I access the vaccinations my baby needs?
If you contact your local GP surgery, you will be able to arrange an appointment with the nursing team to receive immunisation.
Alternatively, at The London Vaccination Clinic we offer same day appointments at any one of our three London based clinics. We’re spread out at convenient locations across the city, so can be accessed easily by public transport.
We’re a nurse led team of hardworking and supportive professionals – we understand the pressures of family life and are happy to answer any vaccine related questions you may have. Looking after our patients, especially our younger ones, is just one of the things we’re great at. Reassuring parents and offering informative and up-to-date advice is something else we do pretty well too. So no matter what help you need, we’ll go out of our way to make sure you get it.
Book an appointment with us
Hoping for a same day appointment to vaccinate your child?
Book online – it’s quick and easy.
We offer vaccinations against:
- hepatitis B
Got a question about childhood immunisations?
Give us a call on: 020 7112 5198. Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org