With World Immunisation Week underway NHS North Yorkshire and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reminding patients about the importance of vaccinations and keeping yourself protected.

World Immunisation Week – celebrated every year in the last week of April – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

Immunisations or vaccinations save millions of lives every year and are widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.

While the world focuses on critically important new vaccines to protect against Covid-19, there remains a need to ensure routine vaccinations are not missed.

Since the first vaccine was invented for Smallpox by Edward Jenner in 1796 immunisation has been an important part of the UK’s public health strategy. Almost a century later Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine for rabies in 1885. In the 20th century we saw the development of vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, anthrax, cholera, plague, typhoid, tuberculosis, and in 1950s, 60s and 70s when the means to protect us against other against other serious illnesses including polio, measles, mumps, and rubella became available.

The 1960s saw the advent of the childhood immunisation programme with a range of vaccinations given to babies and children from eight weeks onwards and children are now protected from 11 illnesses as a result of the programme. More recently we have seen the development of the flu vaccination, previously offered through the NHS to vulnerable groups, but for the first time in 2020 offered to everyone aged 50 and over.

More recently we saw the development of the flu vaccination, previously offered through the NHS to vulnerable groups, but for the first time in 2020 offered to everyone aged 50 and over.

Knowledge from other vaccines such as SARs and MERs, was used in developing the Covid-19 vaccine showing the importance of vaccines as part of our public health strategy.

Patients are encouraged to join the millions across the UK who have safely received the Covid-19 vaccination.

NHS North Yorkshire CCG Clinical Chair, Dr Charles Parker, said: ” it is important to remember that vaccinations have been protecting the population against serious illness for centuries and have saved many lives.

“That is why it is so important that we have vaccinations when we are offered, from taking our children for their childhood immunisations, to having the flu vaccine.’

Dr Nigel Wells, NHS Vale of York CCG Clinical Chair added “I would also urge everyone to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccination when they receive one and ensure they also attend for their second dose to gain the maximum protection available”

Don’t delay in getting your vaccine, everyone offered the vaccination is encouraged to come forward when they are invited either by the national booking system of their registered GP. To book a vaccine and check eligibility visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/