Health authorities both nationally and in Bradford are sounding the alarm, urging parents and caregivers to ensure their children receive complete vaccinations against serious childhood diseases.

Over the past decade, there has been a concerning decline in vaccine uptake, resulting in fewer children completing their vaccination courses each year.

This decline has given rise to a recent surge in highly contagious and unpleasant infections like measles, with several reported cases in Bradford.

A new national campaign, launching on 4 March, aims to heighten awareness and boost childhood immunisation rates throughout England.

The nationwide initiative will actively encourage parents and guardians of children aged 0-5, who have missed or may miss a vaccine, to promptly get their children vaccinated.

In Bradford, the school immunisation teams will be reaching out to parents in areas where the uptake of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is particularly low.

Special clinics will be operational in schools across the district from 4 March to mid-April. Notably, the school immunisation service will exclusively administer the Priorix® vaccine, which contains no pork gelatine.

Parents suspecting their child has measles or has been in contact with a confirmed case are advised to stay at home and contact their GP surgery (or 111 if after hours). The public is urged not to visit the GP surgery, out-of-hours service, or hospital without calling ahead, allowing necessary precautions to be taken.

Across England, childhood vaccination programmes prevent approximately 5,000 deaths and over 100,000 hospital admissions annually, saving the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds.

In addition to the MMR vaccine, these immunisations have played a pivotal role in practically eradicating diseases like polio and diphtheria in the UK.

Sarah Muckle, Bradford Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Childhood immunisation has been one of the major health successes in the UK preventing thousands of deaths. We’ve seen recently that childhood diseases are on the increase again so it’s vital that parents and carers protect their children. We’re urging them to make sure their child is up-to-date with their vaccines.

“MMR is a very effective vaccine that has been used for many years and once you have had your first and second jabs you don’t need further jabs. MMR is available for free from the NHS to any individual regardless of age or immigration status.”