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Vaccinations saving lives

A new report has revealed that a national vaccination programme has prevented over 3,000 deaths and serious illnesses, saving young people's lives
A new report has revealed that a national vaccination programme has prevented over 3,000 deaths and serious illnesses, saving young people's lives.

According to the report, menC (meningococcal C/meningitis) did not cause any fatalities in people under 19-years-old in 2007 thanks to vaccinations. The Department of Health views the findings as vital to countering people's concerns over vaccinations such as the MMR jabs. Data from a recent survey carried out on behalf of the Department of Health showed that 73 per cent of parents in the UK believe the MMR vaccine to be safe, a 10 per cent rise from the amount of people who shared the same view in 2003.

Professor David Salisbury said: "It is imperative that we continue to do all we can to encourage take up of vaccines - particularly MMR. The evidence on MMR is clear. Population studies and studies in individual children show no link between the vaccine and autism. We need to put that scare behind us and make sure our children are as well protected as possible."

Over 85 per cent of all children in the UK now receive an MMR jab before their second birthday. Before the inception of MMR vaccine programmes, about 1,200 people a year needed hospital treatment for mumps, meningitis or encephalitis. In 1998, meningitis claimed the lives of 78 young people and children. During the early 1950s, polio epidemics were common with almost 8,000 people succumbing to related paralyses each year. Vaccinations have largely eradicated the crippling effects of the disease and today nobody is paralysed by polio.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: "This report underlines the need for vaccination and proves that our programme is helping to halt diseases in their tracks."

"Parents can be confident that making sure their children have their routine jabs is the best way to protect them," she added.

In April 2008 the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) announced that a leading academic has warned the government not to prohibit the commencement of a 'golden era' for vaccinations.

Professor Louis Galambos of John Hopkins University said that government cost-cutting could thwart a potential period of rapid expansion in vaccinations, ultimately leading to downturn in R&D investment. The ABPI expressed concern during a press conference in March 2008 about a lack of confidence in the industry's outlook.

21st April 2008

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