This week it is World Immunisation Awareness Week, and the NHS is reminding parents and carers of the importance of vaccinating their child against a host of serious diseases.
The vaccination jabs which children receive in their early years – between birth and when they first go to school – are very important in helping them build protection against infections such as meningitis, diphtheria, polio, measles and mumps.
These diseases are in circulation and an infection can cause serious complications, particularly for a child. But it is not only the child who is protected, vaccination programmes protect the whole population by making it harder for a disease to spread to others.
It is particularly important that children are fully up-to-date with all their jabs before they start school for the first time, which is when they come into contact with more potential sources of infection.
The vast majority of parents do ensure their child has been fully protected, but there are many children who are missing doses and are therefore at risk.
More information is available on the NHS Choices website, and if in any doubt that your child is missing important vaccinations you should speak to your GP.
Play your part and help spread the message to family and friends and help to ensure children are fully protected.