Happy birthday! Now get your jabs

Recent outbreaks of measles in London have left some children hospitalised – something the birthday cards, being sent to parents of newborns, one and four-year-olds, aim to prevent.

 “Ensuring that your child has all their childhood immunisations is one of the most important things that a parent can do for their child,” says Walthamstow GP, Dr Gabby Ivbijaro. “This will safely protect your children and give them the best start in life. It's the most effective way of keeping them protected against infectious diseases.

 “It may be tempting to say 'no' to vaccination and 'leave it to nature' instead,” continues Dr Ibvijaro, “but recent outbreaks have shown that deciding not to vaccinate your child puts them at risk of catching a range of potentially serious, even fatal, diseases. If you are unsure about it, talk to your GP or nurse and we will give you all the latest information and advice.”

The immunisations on offer from your GP protect children against ten potentially serious diseases including meningitis C, measles, and diphtheria.

 London rates of coverage of all childhood immunisations at ages two and five, are markedly lower than in every other English region. No London borough achieves the 95% level required to make it difficult for diseases to be spread to those who are not immunised.

 “While many children in London get their first doses of vaccinations, uptake of their booster vaccination drops, which may result in your child not having complete immunity when an infectious disease is on the rise,” says Dr Ivbijaro.

 “Ideally, kids should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection. NHS research has found that some parents may need reminding which immunisations are due and when, in order to keep their child protected so we GPs will send out the birthday cards to remind them of their child’s immunisation schedule.”