DOZENS of babies in Swindon could be at risk of catching potentially deadly illnesses after uptake rates for vital jabs fell below safe levels, figures reveal.

A Swindon doctor has urged parents to ensure that their little ones are protected as Public Health England data revealed 106 babies did not receive their six-in-one jab.

The vaccine protects against six serious infections – polio, whooping cough, tetanus, flu, hepatitis B and diphtheria – in the first few months of their lives.

Dr Peter Swinyard said: “It’s very sad that more than 100 babies have not been vaccinated.

“It’s very important to get this jab, there’s no excuse or reason not to, they are safe so just get on with it.

“Not immunising your children is like not teaching them to look both ways before crossing the road – it’s a serious risk and they could be hit hard.

“People refusing vaccinations is causing a lot of damage and has led to a resurgence in conditions we thought were gone for good, like measles, which I last saw in my early years as a doctor and had been extinct until recently.

“In some countries, it’s compulsory for children to be vaccinated before they are allowed to go into schools, which I think is a brilliant idea that we should adopt.

“There’s a lot of unsubstantiated nonsense on the internet about the dangers of vaccines but the internet does not know better than trained medical professionals.

“There was one published paper about it but the doctor who wrote that has since been struck off from the UK medical register and his work was thoroughly discredited. Some parents read this rubbish in chatrooms and don’t listen to scientific reason. Please take advice from your GP, don’t put your child at risk.”

New data shows that 92.2 per cent of young children in Swindon who had their first birthday in the six months to September 2019 were vaccinated.

This means that the area fell short of the 95 per cent rate recommended by the World Health Organisation to prevent outbreaks.

But it is slightly higher than the national average – across England, the figure stood at 92.1 per cent.

The south west’s overall uptake rate of 93.9 per cent was the second-highest of any region in the country.

Babies should have three rounds of the six-in-one vaccination at eight, 12 and 16 weeks of age.

British Society for Immunology chief executive Dr Doug Brown urged the government to deliver on its promise to develop the UK’s first vaccine strategy.

He said: “Low levels of vaccination coverage matter as it means these diseases have the potential to spread within our communities, infecting unvaccinated people, with young babies and people with compromised immune systems particularly at risk.”

Health minister Nicola Blackwood said: “Every child must be vaccinated against dangerous and potentially fatal diseases.

“Vaccine uptake is very high, at around 90 per cent, for most childhood vaccines, but we are determined to drive rates up even further.

“Our new vaccination strategy, published in the new year, will consider a range of approaches to improve uptake.”