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GPs urge people to keep up to date with life-saving vaccinations

As the UK marks world immunisation week, doctors across the North East and North Cumbria are urging people to keep up to date with their vaccinations.

The annual World Health Organisation (WHO) event aims to promote the use of vaccines to help protect against preventable diseases.

This year, the campaign celebrates 50 years of protecting children against childhood illnesses through vaccination.

Dr Neil O'Brien, chief medical officer, NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: "Vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical invention in history, helping protect millions of adults and children from serious and potentially deadly diseases.

"It's the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and those around us against ill health. If people stop having vaccines, it's possible that these diseases could quickly start to spread again."

Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases including smallpox, polio, and tetanus, that used to kill or harm millions of people, have either gone away or are now very rarely seen.

The UK national immunisation programme starts from the age of 2 months old and continues up to age 79, providing protection against diseases such as:

  • diphtheria
  • hepatitis B
  • HPV
  • flu
  • measles, mumps, rubella
  • meningococcal disease
  • whooping cough
  • pneumococcal disease
  • polio
  • rotavirus
  • shingles

"It's never too late to get vaccinated," added Dr O'Brien.

"It's especially important for young children, women who are pregnant, anyone who is immunocompromised and elderly people to ensure they get the right vaccines to protect themselves.

"If you think you or your child have missed any of your routine vaccination appointments, please contact your GP practice to help."

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