Health bosses refuse to vaccinate all pupils at Dagenham school with Hepatitis A outbreak
- Credit: Archant
Health bosses have been slammed for refusing to vaccinate every pupil at a primary school after an outbreak of Hepatitis A.
Mums and dads with children at Parsloes Primary School in Spurling Road, Dagenham, received a letter from health agency Public Health England (PHE) telling them there was a key stage one pupil with the liver infection but only younger students would be offered a vaccine.
PHE’s message to parents says: “We have reviewed the risk posed by this infection and have recommended that all children and staff in reception and years one and two will be offered a vaccine.
“No other children... will be offered the vaccine as the risk of exposure to them is very low”.
But parents with older children at the school said the decision was ridiculous and fear the virus could spread when younger and older pupils meet at break and lunchtime.
One mum, who asked not to be named, said: “The whole school is in uproar this morning.”
Another anxious mum – whose child is in year five – feared for her son’s health and that the virus could be passed on to a three-month-old sibling.
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The mother, who asked not to be named, said: “Why are older children not being protected?
“Something needs to be done. We as parents are panicking and worried.”
Dr Edward Wynne-Evans, a PHE consultant, said: “The vaccinations are being offered to children on a precautionary basis.
“Young children with Hepatitis A often have mild or no symptoms and may be unaware they have the infection, but can still pass it on to others, particularly very young children, who may not be as able to wash their hands properly by themselves.”
Precautionary vaccinations were given to younger students because they are the group more likely to have had contact with the infected child, PHE said.
Dr Wynne-Evans urged parents to take up the vaccination offer and recommended good hygiene and hand washing.
Signs of Hepatitis A can include: flu-like symptoms; abdominal pain; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting and a yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.
It is uncommon in the UK and is rarely life-threatening, according to the NHS.
Anyone who notices these symptoms in a friend or family member should contact their GP or telephone NHS 111.