New figures from Public Health England have revealed that there are a concerning number of children in the UK who have missed out on their vital vaccinations.
Experts are concerned that parents and guardians are unaware of the potential risks of children catching illnesses such as pneumonia, measles and even types of cancer.
There are many different vaccines that children are expected to be given at key stages in childhood.
Before a child is one they should have received all doses of their six-in-one vaccine, which protects against six separate diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B) and whooping cough.
At this age, children should also have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, and pneumonia, amongst other illnesses.
As well as this, every year between the ages of two and nine children should be given a flu vaccine.
Both boys and girls should be given a three-in-one teenage booster, and in their teens, they should also be given a vaccine to prevent against different types of meningitis and septicaemia.
Across England in 2018, there were 52,180 children living in care and of those 7,660 were not up to date with their vaccines; this equates to one in seven not being immunised.
Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of the children in care charity Become, said: “The number of children in care who aren’t up to date with vaccinations is really worrying, both for them and because of the health threat this poses to other people.
“Children in care can often miss out on vaccinations in early childhood because the majority are taken into care from dysfunctional, chaotic family situations.
Ms Finlayson added, “This means that the accountability for making sure the child is up to date with vaccinations is diminished, and records that should go with the child can easily be misplaced.”
Dr Michael Edelstein, a Consultant Epidemiologist at Public Health England, said: “We want every child to benefit from the UK vaccination programme, and therefore encourage all those responsible for the care of children to ensure the children they care for are up to date for all their childhood jabs.
“We are working closely with the NHS, and with staff in general practice where most vaccinations are delivered, to improve uptake.”