21 Apr 2020

Dr Sue Hyde, a St Helens GP and Governing Body member is urging all parents to attend their childhood immunisation appointments as usual following concerns that outbreaks of diseases such as measles may occur following people delaying vaccinations due to a fear of contracting coronavirus.

The national immunisation programme is highly successful at reducing the incidences of serious and sometimes life threatening diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and more.  While preventing the spread of Covid-19 and caring for those infected is a public health priority, it remains important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these diseases.  School age immunisations will be rescheduled in due course.

 GP practices have been asked to prioritise the following:

  • Routine childhood immunisations from eight 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

Dr Hyde said: “I would urge all parents to ensure they attend their GP practice for their child’s vaccination appointment as normal as it is important that routine immunisations are started and completed on time.  Measles, which causes coughing, rashes and fever, can be prevented by two doses of the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine, available free to all young children and as measles is highly infectious, even small declines in uptake can have an impact.

“GP surgeries are taking all possible precautions to ensure parents, babies and children are protected from Covid-19 and people should only rearrange their appointment if they are unwell or self-isolating after having been in contact with someone with Covid-19.  Vaccines are the best way to protect your children from ill health from through causes other than coronavirus."

For more information please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/nhs-vaccinations-and-when-to-have-them/ or contact your local GP surgery.