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4th May 2020
North West immunisation leads are urging people in the region to continue to attend routine vaccination appointments during the coronavirus pandemic.
While preventing the spread of Covid-19 is a public health priority, it is still vital that members of the public go to scheduled vaccination appointments to stop outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and to protect vulnerable groups including children, babies and pregnant women.
Dianne Draper, Screening and Immunisation lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement in Lancashire and South Cumbria and Cheshire and Merseyside, said that while the NHS is taking measures to protect people from coronavirus, local services are working hard to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women, still receive their routine vaccinations.
She added: “Vaccines are an absolutely essential building block of good health. GP practices are making sure it is safe for patients to attend and it is vital that people don’t cancel their immunisation appointments during the pandemic and attend them as normal.”
When attending appointments, people should follow government guidance and ensure they are two metres apart from anyone outside their household and minimise time spent outside.
If a patient or a member of their household develops coronavirus symptoms before attending their appointment, they should follow government guidance and rearrange their appointment.
Christine Khiroya, Nurse Consultant with responsibility for screening and immunisation, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said that as long as those attending appointments, including parents of babies or children, do not have symptoms or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, they should continue to attend due immunisation appointments.
She added: “During this time, it is important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and measles.”
If individuals or members of a household need advice from a GP practice about symptoms not related to coronavirus, they should contact the practice online or by phone to be assessed.
Case study 1
Dad Pete Rimmer, from Southport, Merseyside, recently took his 12-month-old son Theo to his GP practice for his vaccinations and has urged other parents who are unsure about going ahead to speak to their practice.
He said: “At first we were concerned because of everything going on about whether we were going to do it or not, so we talked to the practice nurse who gave us loads of reassurance and told us they were taking all necessary precautions.
“We were really glad we did because his safety comes first and we’d encourage anyone who’s unsure to talk to their practice nurse and get as much information as possible.”
Case study 2
Mandy Davies, from Southport, Merseyside, took her 12-month-old daughter Skye for her vaccinations two weeks ago, to ensure she is protected when she returns to nursery.
Mandy said: “We went into the GP practice through the back door there was no one else there except one receptionist, one nurse and one doctor. There was lots of distance and no members of the public, so we felt really safe.
“We’re glad we got the vaccine. It all went well and now I feel that she’s protected and she’s safe.”
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