Innovative thinking keeps childhood immunisations on track during Covid-19 pandemic

Parents in Lincolnshire are encouraged to continue booking all regular vaccination appointments for their children to stop killer diseases like measles and mumps.

The image is for illustration purposes

Surgeries and clinics have introduced a range of safety measures and have come up with some innovative ways to protect those attending appointments.

As long as those attending, including parents of babies or children, do not have symptoms or are not self-isolating, all scheduled vaccinations should go ahead as normal, says health officials.

Following the success of Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust’s drive through Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) immunisation clinic at Johnson Community Hospital in Spalding, the Trust is adding clinics at another two sites.

The new sites will offer a wider choice of venues for parents of 12-13-year olds who require their first HPV vaccination.

Parents are given timed appointments to attend the drive through vaccination centre to ensure social distancing measures can be followed to create a COVID-19 free environment.

This has meant that the HPV vaccinations normally provided at school, can continue.

Tina Bramley, Head of Clinical Services from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust said: “We’ve had a very positive reaction to our first drive through vaccination centre at Johnson Community Hospital and we’re delighted to be able to roll this format out to more locations across the county, to offer parents more choice and convenience.

“The HPV vaccine offers significant protection against a range of cancers, 99.7 per cent of which are caused by the HPV virus. Since we started our catch-up vaccination programme, we’ve been able to arrange appointments for around 300 children to make sure they are protected from serious forms of cancer in later life.”

Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisations Lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands says: “Measures are in place across the Midlands to ensure that essential, routine vaccinations can be delivered safely through family doctors and clinics, including ‘drive through’ clinics in some areas.

“As long as you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, vaccinations should happen as normal.

“Local services are working hard to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women can still receive their routine vaccinations as they provide essential protection against potentially life-threatening diseases. Please book you or your child’s vaccination appointment as usual if this is due.”