COVID-19: Can my child have their vaccines?
It is really important that you bring your child at the correct time to have their vaccinations done. Your child will be vaccinated in a safe and clean area and the nurse will have protective equipment to help keep you and your baby safe.
If your child has missed their vaccination contact your GP surgery as soon as possible to arrange an appointment. A late vaccination is better than no vaccination.
All routine vaccinations are free to adults and children on the NHS.In 2018-19 there was a major measles outbreak affecting hundreds of children in Hackney, some of whom were admitted to hospital. Measles is a very serious disease and can lead to disability and even death.
We want to avoid another measles outbreak, so it’s very important that as a responsible parent, you bring your child for their vaccinations when they are due.
Having vaccinations will also protect against other very serious illnesses such as meningitis, tetanus and hepatitis.
We want to avoid outbreaks of other preventable illnesses. Please help us to protect our community.
Why aren’t you stopping routine immunisations?
Whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those infected is a priority, it is very important to maintain good coverage of immunisations, particularly in the childhood programme.
In addition to protecting the individual, this will avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, that could increase further the numbers of patients requiring health services.
Should people/babies really still go and be immunised at their GP surgery even though there is a risk that by doing this they may be infected with COVID-19?
Your GP surgery will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID-19. You should still bring your child for their vaccinations unless they are unwell (check with your GP whether you should still attend) or if anyone in your household is self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In these circumstances please rearrange your appointment.
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent other infectious diseases. Babies and toddlers in particular need vaccinations to protect them from measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, TB and more.
What are “routine” childhood immunisations?
The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the incidence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. It remains important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections.
Practices will be prioritising the following:
- Routine childhood immunisations, from 8 weeks up to and including vaccines due at one year of age including first MMR and hepatitis B for at risk infants;
- Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy;
- Pneumococcal vaccination for those in risk groups from 2 to 64 years of age and those aged 65 years and over (subject to supplies of PPV23 and clinical prioritisation).
Neonatal BCG and all doses of targeted hepatitis B vaccines should also be offered in a timely manner.
If you are not doing school-age immunisations, isn’t there a risk that we will see big increases in the diseases those children are normally vaccinated against?
Immunisations for school-age children will be rescheduled. UK government has provided clear public health advice on specific measures to take to prevent further Coronavirus cases which includes social distancing. On this basis, community clinics are not recommended given that this is likely to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
Do GP surgeries really still have the time to do vaccinations?
Yes, your surgery does have time to provide vaccinations as usual. Although practices will be busy responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the routine childhood immunisation programme will continue to play an important role in preventing ill-health through causes other than coronavirus infection.
How important is it that you get your immunisation at the time you are called? Is there a risk in delaying for a few months and if there isn’t then why don’t we stop and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 through a visit to the general practice?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. This will help protect your child from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Whilst infections such as meningococcal disease are now much reduced in incidence, this has only come about because of high levels of vaccination. To prevent these illnesses from returning, infants still need protection through vaccination. Pertussis (whooping cough) continues to circulate at elevated levels and it is important that pregnant women are offered the pertussis vaccine, and that their babies start receiving protection against this, and other infections, from 8 weeks of age.